Ya Gotta Do Better Than Just 'Pink It Up'

Welcome to the Femme Den
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A session on smart design and consumer Electronics at CES featured speakers from the "Femme Den." More than a few of the male attendees came, I'm sure, because they thought this session was part of the adult convention that used to be part of CES and now coincides with it in Las Vegas.

The Femme Den actually is a group of designers who study how men and women approach products and experiences. They work with companies that make or sell products like consumer electronics, sport equipment, fashion, toys or housewares to help design goods to appeal to women and believe men will enjoy some of the designs as well.

Nike came to the employees of Smart Design three years ago because it was having trouble attracting female customers and the Femme Den was born, said Erica Eden, one of the founding members.

Addressing the electronic retailers and manufacturers in the crowd, Eden said women buy 57% of consumer electronics yet are treated as a niche. Surface treatments like coloring a device pink ignores the fact that women value performance in a product as well, she and other members said.

The designers are trying to help CE makers reduce the frustration factor among buyers to reduce returns. Through focus groups, the designers learned men and women can both be frustrated by products, and while men "don't necessarily love it either, they're just willing to futz with a product longer to make it work," than women are, she said.

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