Social insight for gender differences in navigation


Introducing the business problem

HERE are a global location data company, supplying mapping and location services as both a business-to-business proposition and in their own consumer smartphone application. Analytics data on their mapping app had revealed a big discrepancy: a substantial majority of their users were male. Where were the women?

HERE came to Pulsar to understand why this gender bias existed – and what design principles and product opportunities might help them overcome it and grow their female user-base.

What made this project different to any previous user experience research was that we used social media data. It may seem unusual for a behavioural study to choose this method: don't social media posts only reveal people's attitudes? However, we needed to explore navigation behaviours from a particularly wide-angled viewpoint to understand what was driving gender differences. This, we recognised, required quantitative scale understanding to augment the more traditional qualitative focus groups – and social provided both a quantitative dataset showing gender differences at mass scale and a source of vivid, emotive expressions of needs.