RE: Creating personas for WAI site redesign

Ø  If we are talking about content there may be more of a case than if we are talking about hard technologies where gender or age or digital literacy etc. are not relevant.

In this particular survey I’m not convinced gender is relevant.  However, females are and have been under represented in the science technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields and in technology.  I have performed many accessibility trainings were the room was 90% male and I have witnessed during my schooling dearth of women in the computer sciences fields and often encouragement away from technology.  Finding out what will draw more females to STEM is critically important and if we find in a survey that they are underrepresented we should seek out focus groups in my opinion to figure out how we can engage them to enter the field and not be intimidated.  Also, women tend to be paid less than men for the same job – so if we were actually going to perform a current survey of this profession that information could be useful in determine if there was pay inequality or parity.  So, there are good reasons to ask these questions in the right format to level the playing field.

The WebAIM survey of accessibility professionals did ask the question of gender and did site a wage gap.


From: Gregg Vanderheiden []
Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 10:37 AM
To: Ginger Claassen; Michiel Bijl; IG - WAI Interest Group List list
Subject: Re: Creating personas for WAI site redesign

Gender in data collection.

This is a very interesting topic / question.

It used to be that gender was always asked and reported in findings because almost all medical research was done on males only — resulting in very poor applicability to females in many cases.    So a balanced sample was looked for.    It was extended to age and other things.

Today - asking gender is much more complicated (and can be pejorative)— and the rationale for it less clear on digital technologies - (though some say - and i have no knowledge either way - that random sampling of a population that is dominated by one gender has led to designs that are not balanced.)

If we are asking about gender for that reason though -  we should also ask about age and digital literacy i would imagine as well?

If we are talking about content there may be more of a case than if we are talking about hard technologies where gender or age or digital literacy etc. are not relevant.

But the best approach i have always found to be

  *   Dont ask any question you do not have a specific need for - that you don’t know exactly what you will use the results for - and they are important.
  *   If asking a question that might be hard to understand - be sure to explain purpose.   If it might be controversial - explain and have a very good reason.

If asking an optional question — then you cant really say anything about the balance of your data - so that makes it use questionable.

If asking optional questions they should usually take the form of narrative informational questions that allow people to provide new information to you - where statistics are not involved.

ALL multiple choice questions should have a “none of the above” choice if at all possible - and also a field to fill in a comment when the choices all dont quite apply.   More questionnaires gather false data because people fill in the closest choice even though it is not accurate (but gets reported as what people said).

In this case - i would say that the question  - because it was optional - gives you little meaningful data  (and can lead to bad impression)
Also gender today is not binary.  (actually never was but we are more aware today )

Good luck


Received on Wednesday, 15 June 2016 01:12:59 UTC