How do you gender your users and customers?

For an Anglophone person (a person who primarily uses English), gendering does not sound like a hard issue to deal with. Pronoun use may be a concern, but those can be bypassed easily.

However, many other languages are overly gendered compared to English, so pronouns are a much lesser concern.

As an example, nouns and adjectives may be gendered in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person in languages such as French or Icelandic. Some languages have three genders while some have none. How do you get around that?

A simple string like “%user% is now online”, where %user% represents the name of any user logging into a live chat system may be a massive headache to deal with gender-wise if we don’t know the gender of said user.

This is one of the hardest challenges when translating and localising software. Marketing material and other commmunications have this hurdle too.

Perhaps one of the best ways to deal with this barrier is not to communicate with the user or customer about themselves, but about you and your products and services when writing marketing content.

In the case of software translations, you may want to ask your users to indicate their preferred gender and react to that (and remember — there are more than two).

Futhermomre, don’t force translators or partners to stick to direct translations of the original text. They need leeway to adapt the text to their language and culture, this is why we use the word localisation.

Be prepared to adapt your software to gender specifics of the languages and countries you intend to support.

Do you automatically assume your users are either male or female, and if so, on what basis?

Even if your all your products are gender coded in a specific way, can you assume all of your customers are either male or female?

Do you ever receive group emails starting with “dear sirs” or “hey girls”? Are they always appropriate?

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