This tidbit of info popped up on a few of the feminist blogs I read, and I thought it was relevant to the "library world" as it is about search habits (I think).
American Airlines has introduced a new "women's" page, complete with "our own" search box:
Here's the search box on the main page of American Airlines (the one that, if I am understanding their implication, appeals more to men than women):
So, aside from the pretty pink color (cuz you know all we chicks just dig pink!), do you notice anything? Like, perhaps, that all of the advanced search functions have been stripped from the women's search box!?
OK, according to their women's page, American Airlines has, "...listened to women like you and recognized the need to provide additional information tailored to your business and pleasure travel needs and lifestyle." Is this true? Did their market research reveal that women would rather not have advanced search options in their search box? And, does American Airlines feel like removing those options provides us women with "additional information?" Really?
I fully admit that perhaps I am over-thinking this because I am an uppity feminist. But since I belong to a profession that is still somewhat dominated by women (79% of librarians were female in 2002 according to the Toledo Blade), a profession where "search" is what we do, this struck a chord with me. Maybe, though, we freaky librarians do not represent the mainstream American woman's search habits. But still...
And because I have nothing better to do until the American Idol Results show comes on, I'll toss out other thoughts, loosely related, as well. If American Airlines did indeed do a study that found women were more in tune with a "simple search," is that because the searching is computer (technology) based? Are women still more put off by technology than men? And if that's the case, should librarianship expect a surge in men joining the ranks now that times have changed and being a librarian is as much about technology as it is about books (or about accessing information via technology, if you are more comfortable with that)?
Naturally, I do not know the answers to these questions, though I suspect you could find "data" supporting both sides to each. And, here's some other interesting reading on the subject(s) for you.
In the meantime, if I ever decide to fly (not likely, though my fear of crashing may be gender-based as well), I will be using the "full service" search on the American Airlines website, thank you very much.
(Cross-posted at Library Talk - feel free to comment in either place.)