This post will not be a “Dear Diary” post, because this is not one of my usual posts. This is a homework assignment to watch and respond to a video about gender-inclusive software.
In our last human computer interaction class, Professor Gilbert introduced an app called SIGCHI. It’s an app for easy access to conference schedules.
For our homework, we were asked to watch a video called Gender-Inclusive Software by Dr. Margaret Burnett. In it, she talks about GenderMag which is short for Gender Inclusiveness Magnifier. This magnifier brings to attention the gender bias “bugs” in products. The research she conducted with GenderMag found that more often than not (33% of the time), products were biased toward men.
With GenderMag, the goal is to recognize gender bias in order to be able to fix it. The cool way to fix gender bias is through, as she puts it, “talking about gender … by not talking about gender”. Instead, consider a trait which all people have with varying degrees. For example, one of the traits she studied with GenderMag was computer self-efficacy or confidence when using technology. This is going to vary widely, and products need to be sensitive to these differences. In doing so, the product will be applicable to everyone.
This was a really cool talk, and it’s crazy how much we don’t know about technology. With the app I mentioned at the beginning, I wonder if it has gender bias.