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Spot the Difference. Janet C Read. Know your Audience!. Experienced researchers Experienced researchers doing work with children Experience in HCI Motivation… Look for something new Get credits. I like my little sister; there is really just one hitch,

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Spot the Difference

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Spot the difference

Spot the Difference

Janet C Read

Know your audience

Know your Audience!

Experienced researchers

Experienced researchers doing work with children

Experience in HCI


Look for something new

Get credits

Spot the difference

I like my little sister; there is really just one hitch,

I think my little sister has become a little witch.

Brian Patten – The Trouble with my Sister



  • Describe ways in which children are the same as adults

  • Describe ways in which children differ from adults

How hci is changing

How HCI is changing….

  •  Cleverer technology

  •   More technology saturation

  •   Better informed researchers

    Seductive interfaces

    Designing for Children and old people

    The place of Fun

    Non- goal driven applications

What is hci

What is HCI?

The discipline concerned with the design, evaluation, and implementation of interactive computer systems for human use and with the study of the major phenomena surrounding them. ACM SigChi (1992)

What is a child

What is a child?

  • Age?

  • Size?

  • Activity?

  • Responsibility?

The similarities

…the similarities

  • Same senses

  • Same limbs

  • Same control mechanisms

  • Same language (just not as well developed)

  • Same feelings (but probably more fragile)

The differences

…the differences

  • Cognitive ability

  • Knowledge

  • Motivation

  • Trust

  • Belief system

  • Motor control

Models of children

Models of Children

  • The child as a learner

  • The child as a developing human

  • The child as a user

  • The child as a player

Children as learners

Children as Learners

  • Children have more to learn

  • Children learn more easily

  • Children are ‘into’ learning

  • Children are ‘into’ not understanding

  • Children’s models are incomplete

Children as developers

Children as Developers

  • Children age quicker

  • Brain still being a) built, b) connected

  • Positive rather than negative development!

  • Physically gain control rather than lose control

  • Used to finding things that they cannot do

Children as users

Children as Users

  • Different motivations, more discretion

  • Rarely ‘made’ to use products

  • More likely to use products by choice

  • Expect more? Magic?

Children as players

Children as Players

  • Quite similar here

  • Children find play very natural

  • Play is essential for children

  • High levels of imagination

So are all children the same

So.. Are all children the same?

How learners are different

How learners are different…

  • Abilities

  • Experiences

  • Motivations

  • Perseverance

How development differs

How development differs..

  • Rates vary

  • Starting point

  • Routes

How users are different

How users are different..

  • Experience

  • Exposure

  • Opportunities

  • Goals

How players differ

How players differ..

  • Gender

  • Perseverance

  • Boredom levels

  • Patience

Who can inform us

Who can inform us?

  • Cognitive Scientists

  • Psychologists

  • Educationalists

  • Developmentalists

  • Designers

Spot the difference


What do i know

What do I know?

  • I was a child once

  • I had siblings

  • I had children

  • I taught children

  • I did voluntary work with children

  • I read about children

  • I tried to understand children

How are we going to proceed

How are we going to proceed?

  • Gathering requirements from children

  • Interactive products for children

  • Novel Interaction techniques

  • Interface design for child users

  • Accessibility and ethics

  • Evaluation of products with and for children

  • Understanding the motivations of children

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