Men vs. Women – Is Your Site Speaking to your Audience

Did you know that men and womn interact with websites differently?

Are you trying to reach one of those audiences more than another?

You would be interested in the findings below. There’s a chance that your site design is making it difficult for your audience to find your information.

This is an exerpt from a much larger article about search behavior and gender differences on Search Engine Land that I had to share. It summarizes a Pew Internet Study released in 2005.

Here are the pieces that I think are most relevant to nonprofits. But first I should mention that the study didn’t find any gender differences related to how men or women interact with search results. The items below are how they interact with your website.


  • Have more engagement with images, especially pictures of people.
  • Cover more of the page in navigating for information scent. They tend to be less singularly focused than men, integrating cues from various parts of the page.
  • More patient and apt to wait for a flash movie to load.
  • Women are more apt to browse through the site, less likely to use the site search
  • Women have a greater ability to gain meaning from a more complex, graphically rich page. They are more comfortable in portal like environments.


  • Far less patient than women. If a downloading file or Flash module gets in the way of anticipated navigation, men are more likely to bail out. Once the “loading” bar shows up, men are looking for the escape button.
  • Less forgiving of poor navigation structures. Navigation should be intuitive, standard, and straightforward for men. Of course, this is a standard best practice for everyone, men and women alike, but men will be more critical in this area.
  • Men are also more likely to use internal search functionality to get directly to the page they’re looking for.
  • Men are more apt to impulse buy in an ecommerce environment. In fact, men are more accepting of the risk involved in online transactions in general.
  • Men prefer more sparse and Spartan website layouts.

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