Della – Dell netbooks for women?

I recently opted to replace my first generation Asus EEE 701. It’s very convenient and mostly functional, but I decided I wasn’t finding it the best thing in the world for really Getting Stuff Done™ outside of sending a few emails.

I chose to get one of the new Samsung NC20s. I highly recommend it – it’s really on the netbook/laptop border, but the larger screen size and resolution is worth that little bit extra weight (and at just under £400, it’s a bargain too).

When I was selecting my new ultra-portable, the kind of things I had in mind were battery life, weight and form-factor (for carting it around to events), the specification (can I code and run photoshop?) and reviews of it’s performance. The one thing I wasn’t particularly interested in was whether it went with my handbag or shoes.

So why exactly have Dell opted to create their new “Della” site, which appears to be about specifically that one aspect?

The site is clearly aimed at women since it features lots of glossy photos of groups of ladies chatting over coffee and standing in fields staring thoughtfully off into the distance (or on the beach – because sand and cooling fans go so well), but it appears to assume that they’re not interested in the specifications or technical features of the laptop – merely how pretty they look and how they’ll help you lose weight or some other inane Heat magazine-esque topic. I’d call this patronising at best.

Perhaps they could be making a bigger deal of their “nipple” cursor controller and getting a few more blokes buying their mini range, just to be fair?

Oh, and my NC20 is an always classic little black number.

Update: Sounds like Dell have had a turn-around on the marketing campaign, pulling the name “Della” just days after it’s launch (although a sneaky look at the website’s mark-up still shows the della references throughout).

Web Design Survey 2007 – Maybe not so hard-done by?

I haven’t even started looking through this properly yet, but Patrick just brought to my attention the results of the A List Apart Web Design Survey 2007 and it’s a great read so far.

Being the unwilling complainer and non-supporter of discrimination (either the negative or the positive types), I’m always especially interested in those bits of data referring to us ladies, and these are some items that have caught my eye so far:

  • Women perceive a high level of gender bias in the industry than men do (but only 22.3%).
  • The number of people (male & female) who think there is definitely not a gender bias in total is a huge 63.8% (only 1.7% think there definitely is one). It’s important to note the tone of this was to “ask specifically if the respondent feels that his or her career has been impacted by bias, not whether the respondent perceives there to be discrimination in the field”.
  • Women have around the same or higher salaries than men in the industry (highest in the $20,000 – $79,999 salary range).
  • “In general, female respondents who work full time do not seem to make less than male respondents who also work full time, and in fact may earn a bit more. This pattern can be seen in Fig. 3.5., “Salary range by gender,” in Section Three.”.
  • “A greater percentage of women than men believe they lack a needed back-end development skill (Fig. 10.3).” (28.8%).

Of course, as with all polls – is this data representative? What percentage of people working in the web industry read things like ALA? It’s a shame census aren’t more detailed like this.

I’m not sure exactly what to say yet, but it certainly supports some thoughts I have on the matter of women in web development. I think there’s always been a lot of talk about discrimination specifically within our industry (dare I even mention the matter of female speakers at conferences, or the lack thereof?) but with very little data and evidence to back up various arguments. I’d like to see some well formed discussions come from research like this and I hope to do just that as soon as I’ve digested the information and done a little more background work.