If you’re trying to design for women, start by solving real problems.

Too often, marketers and product designers think that they can slap some pink on a product and women will flock to it. Remember Dell’s “Della” line for women? Or Bic for Her, the totally unnecessary ”pen for women” (and its ensuing Amazon reviews)?

But let’s be honest: It’s not really a problem that the iPhone 5 doesn’t come in pink. It is a problem that it probably won’t fit nicely into any of my pockets. (Fashion these days seems to dictate that women’s pants pockets are impossibly tiny. My iPhone 4 is bad enough already. Lengthening it just a little bit makes a difference.)

These are some of my roomiest pant-pockets.

It also sucks that all of the flagship quality phones are getting larger and larger. (“It’s one of those ‘mine is bigger than yours’ things,” said one of my (male) friends.) If I want a smaller phone, I’m going to have to settle for a less powerful processor and a less capable camera. This isn’t because manufacturers can’t fit those tools into a smaller phone; in the case of the iPhone 5, they have heavily emphasized the fact that it has less volume than the iPhone 4. But instead of making a more compact phone, they make an effectively bigger one.

Product people, I know you want women to buy your stuff. After all, they are becoming the most important demographic in tech. So stop trying to pander to women by making everything pink and feminine.

Instead, win women over by making flagship-quality products that fits into our hands and our pockets and our lives.

Or, more generally: Solve real problems.

I’m Tess Rinearson, a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science. I like hackathons, feminists and coffee. 

If you liked this post, you should follow me on Twitter or post it to Hacker News.

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