Hey Tech Guys: Women Don't Want Massive Phones

Zeynep Tufekci describes her frustrations dealing with her too-big Nexus

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 8, 2013 1:28 PM CST

(Newser) – Zeynep Tufekci was covering a protest in Istanbul when Turkish soldiers began firing tear gas into the peaceful crowd. She whipped out her phone—a Google Nexus 4—hoping to document the outrage, and clutching her bag with one hand, tried to snap a picture with the other. It was no use. Her pictures kept coming out blurry and useless, "for one simple reason: Good smartphones are designed for male hands," she writes at Medium. "As my lungs, eyes, and nose burned … I cursed the gendered nature of tech design."

"I'm 5 foot 2 inches on a good day, and my hands are simply not big enough" to use modern smartphones one-handed, she writes. Every generation the screen gets slightly larger. "For most men, it’s just one small, added benefit. For many women, though, it’s a reminder that the tech industry doesn’t always remember or count your existence." Nor does it consider those developing countries where people are smaller on average. The tech industry desperately needs more diversity, to help it design "for people other than average sized men in rich countries." Click for Tufekci's full piece.

The Nexus 4 smartphone is shown by Randall Safara of Google at a Google announcement in San Francisco, Oct. 29, 2012.
The Nexus 4 smartphone is shown by Randall Safara of Google at a Google announcement in San Francisco, Oct. 29, 2012.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Google Nexus 4
Google Nexus 4   (©)
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I don’t want a pink phone, I don’t want 'women’s applications,' and I don’t want ruffles or hello kitty on my phone. I merely want a design that acknowledges that women exist, and often have smaller hands than men. - Zeynep Tufekci

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