Usability in software products aimed for kids

25 Sep 2009 - 2:27am
3 years ago
9 replies
2319 reads
Harikrishna VP
2008

Hello IXDA,

Can you share experiences, standards, guidelines or any sort of
literature which talks about attaining usability in software
products aimed for kids.

Comments

25 Sep 2009 - 3:18am
Kai En Ong
2008

Kids - how old? Reading age? Will their co-ordination be developed to
manage a mouse? Used with friends/family/school or alone? What's the
software for?

Sorry about all the questions. It's a broad spectrum you ask about.
Do you have anything specific you'd like to know about?

There%u2019s a previous discussion thread you might find useful to
start with.
http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=30947

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25 Sep 2009 - 3:27am
Laurence Veale
2008

Good design is good design.

Have a look at sesamestreet.org - good clean grid, clear choices and
big legible text - something all sites should emulate.

One word of advice - a silly font is not designing for kids. Don't
be tempted to slap Comic Sans over everything!

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25 Sep 2009 - 6:04am
Angela Colter
2009

Allison Druin at University of Maryland has published extensively
about designing for children and involving children as design
partners.

Her newest book just came out this year, Mobile Technologies for
Children

There's an extensive list of her research on the ACM Portal as well.

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25 Sep 2009 - 2:41pm
Craig Pickering
2007

The Nielsen Norman Group has a couple of reports available:

For 6-12 year olds http://www.nngroup.com/reports/kids/

For 13-17 year olds http://www.nngroup.com/reports/teens/

I've read the first one and it is pretty good. I don't know about the second report.

29 Sep 2009 - 8:26am
Dru
2009

We are rolling out a site targeting kids agest 5-8 and then Phase 2
will be 9-11. It is an educational site re: nutrition and healthy
choices (re:diet). Here are some of the sources I found helpful.
http://www.otal.umd.edu/uupractice/children/

http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/382138/interface_design_web_portals_and_children/index.html?source=r_technology

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30 Sep 2009 - 7:07am
Harikrishna VP
2008

Sorry for my late reply!

@Kai,
By kids i mean the whole range of kids, who are interested in reading
and hearing stories with pictures, with and without the help of their
parents. Thanks for the link to the earlier IXDA discussion by Cindy
Chastain.

@ Laurence,
Yes sesamestreet.org has a pretty neat design.

@ Angela,
I will check in the ACM portal for Allison Druin's research list.
Thanks.

@ Craig,
Thanks for the norman report links.

@Dru,
Thanks for the very informative links.

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30 Sep 2009 - 7:48am
Anonymous

Hi Harikrishna,

Last summer I worked on a site for BBC Worldwide targeted for 2-6 year-olds
and their parents. I have a ton of articles I could share as well as the
links below.

Will send you pdfs of other articles directly.

Cheers,
Cindy

BBC. (2006). *BBC Children’s Design Guidelines*. Retrieved June 16, 2008
from http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/guidelines/index.html

Buckleitner, W. (2008). *Like Taking Candy From a Baby: How Young Children
Interact with Online Environments*. Retrieved July 2, 2008 from
http://www.experientia.com/blog/ethnographic-study-on-how-young-children-interact-with-the-web

*Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998*. (1998). Retrieved July
2, 2008 from http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm

Demming, G. (n.d.). *Children are Users Too*. Retrieved July 2, 2008.

Esomar World Research. (1999). Interviewing Children and Young People.
Retrieved July 2, 2008 from
http://www.esomar.org/uploads/pdf/ESOMAR_Codes&Guidelines_InterviewingChildren.pdf

Hanna, Risden & Alexander. (2007). *Guidelines for Usability Testing with
Children*. Retrieved July 2, 2008.

*Lifelong Kindergarten: MIT Media Lab*. (n.d.). Retrieved July 2, 2008 from
http://llk.media.mit.edu

Marketing Research Association, Inc. (2007). *The Code of Marketing Research
Standards*. Retrieved July 2, 2008 from
http://www.mra-net.org/pdf/expanded_code.pdf

Montemayor, J., Druin, A., Farber, A., Simms, S., Churaman, W., D’Amour, A.
(n.d.). *Physical Programming: Designing Tools for Children to Create
Physical Interactive Environments*. Retrieved June 16, 2008.

Nielsen, J. (2002). *Kids’ Corner: Website Usability for Children*.
Retrieved June 16, 2008 from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/children.html

Nielsen Norman Group. (n.d.). *Usability of Websites for Children: 70 Design
Guidelines*. Retrieved July 2, 2008 from http://www.nngroup.com/reports/kids

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2003). *Zero to Six: Electronic
Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers*. Retrieved July 2,
2008 from http://www.kff.org/entmedia/3378.cfm

Vygotsky, L. (1930). *Tool and Symbol in Child Development*. Retrieved July
2, 2008, from Soviety Psychology: Tool and Symbol in Child Development:
http://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/mind/chap1.htm

30 Sep 2009 - 11:56pm
Harikrishna VP
2008

Thanks Cindy for sharing the huge list of urls. I'm sure lot of IXDA
members will benefit from this, as I do.

- harikrishna vp

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31 Jul 2010 - 9:19pm
pv
2010

i notice the last post in this thread was made a couple of years ago--and will try and look around for a more recent thread (will explore the various links suggested above). 

am helping develop an application for students (grades 3-8) and am trying to figure out if there is any recent research on the subject. my research ranges for the type size one should think of for different age ranges, to the number of words on a screen, to the most commonly used/familiar interactions (match the following, place the phrases in sequence, etc).

any help will be appreciated.

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