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Gender Differences in Graphic Design Q&As: How Community and Site Characteristics Contribute to Gender Gaps in Answering Questions

Question and answer (Q&A) sites can capture a range of user perspectives on using complex, feature-rich software. Little is known, however, on who is contributing to the sites. We look at contribution diversity from the perspective of gender in a domain with near gender parity: graphic design. Through content analysis of 330 answers from two popular Q&A sites and semi-structured interviews with 24 graphic designers, we examine who is contributing, what content, how the community shows appreciation towards their answers, and perceived motivations and barriers to participation. We find that despite gender balance in the field, women contribute far less frequently than men. We also see gender differences in contribution styles and user appreciation. Our interviews shed further light on how Q&A community cultures might be impacting men and women differently and how design choices made by the sites’ developers might be exacerbating these differences. We suggest implications for design for improving gender inclusivity.

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Patrick Marcel Joseph Dubois, Mahya Maftouni, Parmit K. Chilana, Joanna McGrenere and Andrea Bunt. 2020. Gender Differences in Graphic Design Q&As: How Community and Site Characteristics Contribute to Gender Gaps in Answering Questions. In Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, Vol. 4, CSCW2, Article 113 (October 2020), 27 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3415184

Authors

Patrick Dubois

Patrick Dubois

PhD Student
Mahya Maftouni

Mahya Maftouni

MSc Student
Andrea Bunt

Andrea Bunt

Professor

As well as: Parmit K. Chilana, Joanna McGrenere