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Ask DN: What is the best and most inclusive way to ask for gender in a form? (Read comment)

5 years ago from , Partner at Emerson Stone

We're working on a project that encourages bicycling for people across the country—as both recreation and commute. As part of our demographic questions, we would like to know the gender of the participant.

So far, we have:

I identify as a… • female • male • I prefer not to say

What if someone doesn't identify as either, but they would prefer to say that? Is there a proper way to do this while keeping three possible selectors?

Thanks for your help.

27 comments

  • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

    Hmm...if you have to keep it to three selectors, try this:

    I identify my gender as the following (check all that apply):

    • [ ] Man
    • [ ] Woman
    • [ ] ________

    The brackets are checkboxes, and the blank is a text field the user can fill in themselves.

    7 points
  • Ed AdamsEd Adams, almost 5 years ago

    I like how Google+ does it:

    • Male
    • Female
    • Rather not say (alternatively "Unspecified", I don't think "Other" is a good term to use because to me it feels a little demeaning.)
    5 points
  • James ConstableJames Constable, almost 5 years ago

    Asking for preferred pronoun is gaining in popularity, at least in tertiary education circles. Something like the following could work:

    I prefer to be referred to as:

    • [ ] He / him
    • [ ] She / her
    • [ ] They / them
    4 points
    • Kyle DeckerKyle Decker, almost 5 years ago (edited almost 5 years ago )

      This option could work nicely with multi-select, since some people accept going be either pronoun.

      1 point
  • Andrew ZimmermanAndrew Zimmerman, almost 5 years ago

    I believe the gov.uk design patterns regarding sex and gender provides the best options. I'm not sure if you're wed to three options though.

    Read more at https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/user-centred-design/resources/patterns/gender-and-sex.html

    2 points
  • Account deleted almost 5 years ago

    If it helps, the UK healthcare user interface guidance on sex and current gender input sets the options for current gender as Male, Female, Other Specific, Not Known and Not Specified.

    2 points
  • Adrian HowardAdrian Howard, 5 years ago

    As part of our demographic questions, we would like to know the gender of the participant.

    Another thing to do is ask yourself why you want to know.

    What changes will it make to your product or service? Is it important?

    I often find that, when folk ask themselves those two questions the answers are "none" and "no" — and it's simpler, faster, and easier to just not ask.

    2 points
    • Alastair TaylorAlastair Taylor, 5 years ago

      ^ This is the correct answer. The fact that we're discussing that there are so many variations to me means it is probably not important. Mind you it isn't always that easy to convince others of that.

      0 points
    • Andy Stone, 5 years ago

      Hi Adrian,

      This is definitely a question that we asked to the client early on. But it turns out that they've been using the demographic data (age, ethnicity, gender) in constructive ways.

      During the first year of the application going national, it was a 80% male users. Through directed marketing efforts and changing of specific messaging around the site, they've come closer to an even playing field with 58% male users. The non-profit that we're building this for promotes bike advocacy and living healthier lives, so the efforts are for a good cause.

      1 point
  • Kyle SKyle S, almost 5 years ago

    Perhaps it could go something like this:

    [ ] MALE [ ] OTHER [ ] FEMALE

    Sort of like an in-between option between male and female.

    1 point
  • Nikos man, 2 years ago

    There are some conditions that you need to fulfill even for working on boom essays and you will see what I mean here if you can get it without any problem. I've tried it for sure.

    0 points
  • Jørgen Arnor LomJørgen Arnor Lom, almost 5 years ago

    I liked the way Hubbub and BBC solved it in the Rest Test.

    Rest test survey question

    0 points
  • Art VandelayArt Vandelay, 5 years ago

    Depends on what you're seeking.

    Gender is more of a social construct. Sex is one of two things.

    So in that case, if you're asking how people identify their gender: Male, Female, Other.

    If you're asking what someone's sex is: Male, Female

    0 points
  • Marià Codina i FerrésMarià Codina i Ferrés, almost 5 years ago (edited almost 5 years ago )

    A less standard way, but more real and sincere in my opinion, would be a slider where female and male are in each end and the user could move the marker freely to where is considered more representative for itself.

    Female ————X———— Male

    (the X is the marker)

    0 points
  • Ix TechauIx Techau, almost 5 years ago

    If you're going down this route, why even have gender as a filter for demographic questions?

    0 points
  • Jaime SelvaJaime Selva, almost 5 years ago

    Take in account the gender are male and female, and man and women for sex ;)

    0 points