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Posts in category 'Children'

26 July 2014

The touch-screen generation

touchscreengeneration

Young children — even toddlers — are spending more and more time with digital technology. Hanna Rosin wonders what will it mean for their development?

“As technology becomes ubiquitous in our lives, American parents are becoming more, not less, wary of what it might be doing to their children. Technological competence and sophistication have not, for parents, translated into comfort and ease. They have merely created yet another sphere that parents feel they have to navigate in exactly the right way. On the one hand, parents want their children to swim expertly in the digital stream that they will have to navigate all their lives; on the other hand, they fear that too much digital media, too early, will sink them. Parents end up treating tablets like precision surgical instruments, gadgets that might perform miracles for their child’s IQ and help him win some nifty robotics competition—but only if they are used just so. Otherwise, their child could end up one of those sad, pale creatures who can’t make eye contact and has an avatar for a girlfriend.”

11 February 2014

How to involve children in the design process?

mindmapping

What are the advantages and challenges inherent in working with children in the design process for creating games or apps? How do you stop them getting bored, and get useful information?

This case study by Monica Ferraro (a UX Researcher at City University London) looks in detail at a project that tried to do just that, and provides some handy tips at the end.

The case study builds on Ferraro’s dissertation, Designing applications for children, that she submitted as part of the Masters course in Human-Centred Systems at City University London in September 2012. For her dissertation, she worked with children aged 4-5 years old to design an iPad application to learn the names and sounds of the letters, and to read and spell simple words.

2 November 2013

Book: The App Generation

theappgeneration

The App Generation
How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World
Howard Gardner and Katie Davis
Yale University Press
October 2013, 256 pages
[Yale University Press link - Amazon link]

Abstract
No one has failed to notice that the current generation of youth is deeply—some would say totally—involved with digital media. Professors Howard Gardner and Katie Davis name today’s young people The App Generation, and in this spellbinding book they explore what it means to be “app-dependent” versus “app-enabled” and how life for this generation differs from life before the digital era. Gardner and Davis are concerned with three vital areas of adolescent life: identity, intimacy, and imagination. Through innovative research, including interviews of young people, focus groups of those who work with them, and a unique comparison of youthful artistic productions before and after the digital revolution, the authors uncover the drawbacks of apps: they may foreclose a sense of identity, encourage superficial relations with others, and stunt creative imagination. On the other hand, the benefits of apps are equally striking: they can promote a strong sense of identity, allow deep relationships, and stimulate creativity. The challenge is to venture beyond the ways that apps are designed to be used, Gardner and Davis conclude, and they suggest how the power of apps can be a springboard to greater creativity and higher aspirations.

Authors
Howard Gardner is Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and senior director of Harvard Project Zero, an educational research group. He is renowned as father of the theory of multiple intelligences. He lives in Cambridge, MA.
Katie Davis is assistant professor, University of Washington Information School, where she studies the role of digital media technologies in adolescents’ lives. She is a former member of the Project Zero team. She lives in Seattle, WA.

> New York Times review

4 June 2013

A beautiful kids’ book that combines interactivity with good old-fashioned text

monster

The Jörgits and the End of Winter, an indie fantasy novel for kids nine and up, uses interactivity as a supplement to the story, not a stand-in for it, and shows how interactivity can work in a slightly more substantial text.

The app was created by Anders Sandell, a Finnish-born interaction designer who grew up in Hawaii, studied Chinese language and literature as an undergrad, earned a masters in NYU’s ITP program, and recently wrapped up a three-year stint establishing a toy design program at the Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology, in Bangalore, India. Unsurprisingly, diversity and community are main themes of the designer’s book.

19 April 2013

Five reasons why kids need special user research

3baa6c7

Sabina Idler, who runs a UX research company in Amsterdam, provides five reasons why kids need special attention when it comes to user research:

1. Kids form their own target group
2. Kids form a diverse target group
3. You have to ask kids what they think to validate your ideas
4. Put kids in charge and benefit from their unbiased creativity
5. Build products that kids love and parented appreciate

(via InfoDesign)

7 February 2013

Recent studies on the impact of tablet use in schools – an overview

 

2012

One-to-one Tablets in Secondary Schools: An Evaluation Study
(see also here and here)
Dr Barbie Clarke and Siv Svanaes, Family Kids and Youth, UK, 2012
Research was carried out between September 2011 and July 2012 and included a literature review, a review of global evaluation studies, and an evaluation of three secondary schools in Belfast, Kent and Essex that had chosen to give pupils one-to-one tablets in September 2011.

iPad Scotland Evaluation Study
(see also here)
Kevin Burden, Paul Hopkins, Dr Trevor Male, Dr Stewart Martin, Christine Trala, University of Hull, UK, 2012
Case study of mobile technology adoption from eight individual educational locations in Scotland that differ significantly in terms of demographics, infrastructure, the approach of the Local Authority and readiness to implement the use of tablet technology for learning and teaching.

Learning is Personal, Stories of Android Tablet Use in the 5th Grade
(see also here)
Marie Bjerede and Tzaddi Bondi, Learning Untethered, USA, 2012
Project explored the differences in student performance using tablets for writing versus using the more traditional netbooks, as well as the appropriateness of Android devices as an alternative to the popular iOS devices.

The iPad as a Tool for Education – A study on the introduction of iPads at Longfield Academy, Kent
Jan Webb, NAACE, UK, 2012
Research on how the use of tablets in a Kent school impacts teaching and learning.

Decoding Learning: The proof, promise and potential of digital education
Rosemary Luckin, Brett Bligh, Andrew Manches, Shaaron Ainsworth, Charles Crook, Richard Noss, NESTA, UK, 2012
Nesta commissioned the London Knowledge Lab (LKL) and Learning Sciences Research Institute (LSRI), University of Nottingham, to analyse how technology has been used in the UK education systems and lessons from around the world, in order to set a clear framework for better understanding the impact on learning experiences.

23 Monate #iPadKAS: Review 2012 und Perspektiven (in German)
A.J. Spang, Kaiserin Augusta Schule, Cologne, Germany, 2012
Report on a 23 month iPad program in a German school.

iPad Trial – Is the iPad suitable as a learning tool in schools?
Smart Classrooms, Department of Education and Training, Queensland Government, Australia, 2012
A study in two schools on the use of the iPad, as part of the Queensland Department of Education and Training’s technology initiatives.

2011

Beyond Textbooks: Year One Report
Virgina Department of Education, USA, 2011
Findings on the implications of introducing traditional textbook alternatives into fifteen pilot classrooms

What do Students Think of Using iPads in Class? Pilot Survey Results
Sam Gliksman, School Director at Los Angeles High School and editor of iPadsInEducation, USA, 2011
Results of survey of 126 students.

“There’s an App for That”: A Study Using iPads in a United States History Classroom
Emily R. Carcia, USA, 2011
Study investigates the effect of Apple iPads on achievement in an eleventh grade U.S. history classroom. Spefically, the research explored the impact of the Explore 9/11 application on student achievement.

How are students actually using IT? An ethnographic study
Christopher Cooley, Thomas M. Malaby and David Stack, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA, 2011
An anthropological ethnographic analysis of student practices relating to the use of information technology on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) campus.

2011 Horizon Report for K12 Education
Larry Johnson, Leslie Conery and Keith Krueger, New Media Consortium, USA, 2011
The NMC Horizon Report series is a research venture that identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact over the coming five years in education around the globe.

2010

The Technology Factor: Nine Keys to Student Achievement and Cost-Effectiveness
Thomas W. Greaves, Jeanne Hayes, Leslie Wilson, Michael Gielniak, and R. Peterson, Project RED, Pearson Foundation, USA, 2010
A detailed report looking at the use of technology in the education sector. The report examines 997 schools and produces outputs for 11 diverse education success measures and 22 categories of independent variables (with many subcategories).

Looking to the future: M-learning with the iPad
Karen Melhuish and Garry Falloon, New Zealand, 2010
Paper explores the potential affordances and limitations of the Apple iPad in the wider context of emergent mobile learning theory, and the social and economic drivers that fuel technology development.

The Effects of Tablets on Pedagogy
Jeremy Vrtis, National-Louis University, USA, 2010
The study examines the effects tablet computers have on the pedagogy of instructors, and students’ perspectives of the instructional uses of the tablet.

3 January 2013

Research on the impact of tablets in secondary schools

tabletsforschools

Two months ago I wrote about what was then one of the first qualitative studies on the impact of tablets in schools:

“Carphone Warehouse (corporate site), a UK mobile phone retailer, recently commissioned the Family Kids and Youth research agency to conduct a qualitative study of schools situated in Belfast, Kent and Essex where children are already benefiting from tablet use. The aim of the research, which ran from April to July 2012, was to find out more about how tablets are actually being used in education.”

Now the full report (95 pages) of that study is online on a new Tablets for School website.

“The report summarises findings from an evaluation study that looked at the feasibility of giving pupils in secondary schools one-to-one tablets. Research was carried out between September 2011 and July 2012 and included a literature review, a review of global evaluation studies, and an evaluation of three secondary schools that had chosen to give pupils one-to-one tablets in September 2011. The three schools were in Belfast, Kent and Essex, with the main focus of the research on the Essex school, and included a nearby ‘control school’ that did not have one-to-one tablets, plus two feeder primary schools. Interviews with school leadership were carried out in all schools, plus observation of tablet learning in the three Tablet schools across a range of subjects. In addition eighteen focus groups were carried out with pupils, parents and teachers. Results suggest several benefits to learning including an increased motivation to learn; increased parental engagement; more efficient monitoring of progress between pupil and teacher; greater collaboration between teacher and pupil and between pupil and pupil. It appears that one-to-one Tablets offer a sense of inclusion that allow children, irrespective of socio-economic status or level of attainment, an opportunity to thrive through a new pedagogical model of pupil-led learning.”

The research summary page also lists separate downloads of the key findings (Word, 8 pages), executive summary (Word, 17 pages), and executive presentation (PowerPoint, 70 slides).

In the coming weeks a new, follow-up research project is about to start.

Most interestingly, the site also links to four other research studies that are worth exploring:

2011 Horizon Report for K12 Education (40 pages)
The NMC Horizon Report series is a research venture that identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact over the coming five years in education around the globe.

Smart Classrooms, Queensland – Is the iPad suitable as a learning tool in schools? (51 pages)
A study in two schools on the use of the iPad, as part of the Queensland Department of Education and Training’s technology initiatives. Throughout the trial, participating students and teachers evaluated the iPad’s performance in a day-to-day school setting.

Project Red : The Technology Factor (180 pages)
A detailed report looking at the use of technology in the education sector. Project RED provides unprecedented scope, breadth, and depth, examining 997 schools to produce outputs for 11 diverse education success measures and 22 categories of independent variables (with many subcategories). These include demographic measures and the effects of various student-computer ratios (1:1, 2:1 etc).

Virginia Department of Education : Beyond Textbooks, Year One Report (29 pages)
In November 2009, the Virginia Department of Education launched a project to explore the implications of introducing traditional textbook alternatives into classrooms. The Beyond Textbooks pilot was part of Learning without Boundaries, an initiative of the Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology that incorporates wireless mobile handheld technology into teaching and learning.
This report shares findings from Phase 1 of the project. Fifteen classrooms — representing four school divisions — participated in the pilot. Using a design-based research approach, evaluators collected data through formal and informal interviews, direct observations, web site posts, and e-mail messages

26 November 2012

Research on Android tablet use in 5th grade classrooms

Learning-is-Personal

The series of research projects on tablet use in schools (see here, here and here) now also has an Android study.

A small research project by Marie Bjerede and Tzaddi Bondi, equipped a 5th grade class of 27 students in Portland, Oregon (USA) with 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab devices with mobile broadband data to use for learning as well as for their own purposes. Though there were a number of technical issues the results were overwhelmingly positive with greater student engagement.

Below are some of the conclusions, observations, and opinions:

Surprisingly, the quality of student writing on 7-inch tablets and on netbooks was essentially equivalent. Student preferences, however, regarding which device to use for creating content varied. In general, though, students prefer to use laptops for large projects (e.g. content that requires substantial editing) and mobile devices for quick notes (e.g. content that requires essentially no editing at the time it is created).

For the purposes of writing, mobile devices share many of the limitations of writing with pencil and paper – it is linear and cumbersome to edit, though fairly straightforward to create. Although mobile devices are great for capturing pictures, video, voice and even draft writing, laptops with their bigger screens and keyboards and mature software are at an advantage for editing and polishing large projects as well as at combining multiple media.

Although Android devices have a number of desirable qualities, including a lower cost and an open ecosystem for apps, the relative immaturity of the Android ecosystem prevents us from being able to recommend Android devices for school implementations at this time. There is no guarantee of backward compatibility – that new apps will work on older devices. Though this is also beginning to be true in the iOS ecosystem, the problem there is much smaller as there are far fewer operational devices not running the most current version of iOS. Also, since the Android operating system, the hardware, the vendors, and the communications providers are separate organizations, there is no single organization responsible for the whole system as sold, making it cumbersome for educational institutions to manage successfully on their own.

Some of the concerns discussed regarding the use of mobile devices for students strike us as red herrings. In practice, we found no need for device management software as students took ownership of their devices, their learning, and the management of their device images. We found students became savvy and safe Internet users when exposed to authentic Internet user experiences (though social networking happened only within a secure, teacher-managed platform). We found students quickly established a culture of responsible use of their devices, which seemed to enhance their learning rather than distracting them from it. We noticed students becoming confident of hardware and software obstacles, turning first to each other for support and generally finding answers within their classroom community or online.

We observed an organic shift in educators’ approach to teaching, transitioning from primarily preparing and delivering content to the class to an environment where students independently seek out content and contribute it to ongoing classroom discussion. The outcome was a culture where the educator and students learned together, and from each other. We believe that two conditions were essential for this shift: first, that each student had his or her own, connected device that was used for personal purposes as well as for classroom learning; second, the classroom learning culture supported the students’ individual freedom (and responsibility) to explore and experiment, permitting them to decide how to best use the devices to support their learning in the 5th grade.

We found that students independently chose to use their devices in “snippets of time” for math, spelling, word games, reading, and other educational uses that matched their interest, level, and pace. In effect, the students essentially eliminated down time from their day while self-differentiating their learning.

Over the course of the year, the students developed skills and habits in using the tools and resources available through their mobile devices. In their culminating project, a presentation of a colonial trade, the implications of those skills became apparent in project work that was significantly richer, more complex, and more sophisticated than that of students in prior years.

9 July 2012

In a Fisher-Price lab, apps become child’s play

8-PROTO3

At a Fisher-Price lab, researchers watch children at play to come up with ideas for new products, including toys that incorporate apps on iPads and iPhones.

At Fisher-Price, “we bring babies in with their moms and watch them at play with different types of apps, different types of products,” said Deborah Weber, senior manager of infant research. Her job, she said, is to “understand the ages and stages of babies — what they can and can’t do, what their interests are, and the growing needs of families today.”

[Fisher-Price calls this process] spelunking, which in its literal sense means to explore caves. But in the realm of toy making, it refers to the simple act of watching children play.

Spelunking has been around since the Fisher-Price PlayLab was formed in 1961, the same year that bricks made by a Danish company called Lego made their American debut. In its earlier days, the lab was filled with toys like a googly-eyed rotary phone known as the Chatter Phone, and the Corn Popper, a kind of mini-lottery machine on wheels.

Today, the lab, located at the Fisher-Price headquarters in East Aurora, N.Y., looks more like an Apple store. But instead of adults and teenagers, there are infants staring into computer screens, and parents and toddlers are passing iPads back and forth.

Read article

30 September 2011

Truth, lies and the internet

Truth, lies and the internet
The internet is the greatest source of information for people living in the UK today. But the amount of material available at the click of a mouse can be both liberating and asphyxiating. Although there are more e-books, trustworthy journalism, niche expertise and accurate facts at our fingertips than ever before, there is an equal measure of mistakes, half-truths, propaganda, misinformation and general nonsense. Knowing how to discriminate between them is both difficult and extremely important.

Truth, Lies and the Internet, a report published by the UK think tank Demos, examines the ability of young people in Britain to critically evaluate information they consume online. It reviews current literature on the subject, and presents a new poll of over 500 teachers. It finds that the web is fundamental to pupils’ school lives but many are not careful, discerning users of the internet. They are unable to find the information they are looking for, or trust the first thing they see. This makes them vulnerable to the pitfalls of ignorance, falsehoods, cons and scams.

This pamphlet recommends that teaching young people critical thinking and skepticism online must be at the heart of learning. Censorship of the internet is neither necessary nor desirable; the task instead is to ensure that young people can make careful, skeptical and savvy judgments about the internet content they encounter. This would allow them to better identify outright lies, scams, hoaxes, selective half-truths, and mistakes, and better navigate the murkier waters of argument and opinion.

Download report

> see also this short video report by the BBC

26 May 2011

Usability testing with children: a lesson from Piaget

Children on the iPad
In this post, Sabina Idler, information designer at Usabilla (The Netherlands), introduces Piaget’s theory of cognitive growth and explains how it can be useful for usability testing with children.

“Children are becoming an increasingly important target group on the web. Good usability and high user experience are crucial aspects for a successful website. Early and repetitive user testing is the way to go. If we address children on our website, we need to focus on what they want. We need to include children as a target group in our user testing. In this post I’d like to take a look at usability testing with different age groups.”

Read article

(via InfoDesign)

16 December 2010

Designing interactive products for children

Apples
Yeevon Ooi of Webcredible writes in a long article that designing interactive products for children shouldn’t be any different from any user-centred design process, but the methods for carrying out user research, the implementation of different design guidelines and evaluating the products need to cater for the young or little audience group.

“Designing for children requires careful planning depending on the nature of the project and the age-group of the children involved. Always determine the age-group of the target audience and use appropriate methods for conducting user research, implementing design guidelines and evaluating the designs. Lastly, a good designer must never forget the ethical considerations involved while designing for children and should exercise their limits accordingly.”

Read article

2 October 2010

Talk by anthropologist Mimi Ito in Milan

Mimi Ito
Yesterday cultural anthropologist Mimi Ito spoke on the impact of technology on teen and youth culture at the Meet The Media Guru event in Milan, Italy. The video is available online.

Cultural anthropologist, with degrees from Harvard and Stanford, Mimi Ito co-directed the Digital Youth Project, which was funded by the MacArthur Foundation and focused on new m-Learning scenarios. The project has become an important point of reference for those studying the relationship between teens and new media.

The three-year Digital Youth Project researched kids’ and teens’ informal learning through digital media, with a particular focus on the day-to-day use and the impact of these new technologies on learning, play and social interaction.

The results of the project are encapsulated in the report, Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project, and the book Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media.

Mimi explored a vast range of social activities that are “augmented” by digital technology: online gaming, virtual communities, production and consumptin of children’s software, and the relationship between children and new media.

She is also specialised in amateur content production and peer-to-peer learning.

She teaches at the Department of Informatics of the University of California, Irvine, and at Kejo University in Kanagawa, Japan. She has also worked for the Institute for Research and Learning, Xerox PARC, Tokyo University, the National Institute for Educational Research in Japan, and for Apple Computer.

Her new book on Otaku culture, the Japanese term for children that have an obsessive interest in video games and manga, will be published shortly.

Mimi Ito joined the Wiki Foundation Advisory Board in June of this year.

Watch video (Mimi starts speaking at 19:30)

29 September 2010

In study, children cite appeal of digital reading

Scholastic
Many children want to read books on digital devices, while parents worry that technology will distract young bookworms, according to a survey by the publisher Scholastic. The New York Times reports:

“Many children want to read books on digital devices and would read for fun more frequently if they could obtain e-books. But even if they had that access, two-thirds of them would not want to give up their traditional print books.

These are a few of the findings in a study being released on Wednesday by Scholastic, the American publisher of the Harry Potter books and the “Hunger Games” trilogy.

The report set out to explore the attitudes and behaviors of parents and children toward reading books for fun in a digital age. Scholastic surveyed more than 2,000 children ages 6 to 17, and their parents, in the spring.”

Read article

21 August 2010

If technology is making us stupid, it’s not technology’s fault

Kids and computers
There has been growing concern that computers have failed to live up to the promise of improving learning for school kids. The New York Times, The Washington Post, and PBS have all done stories recently calling into question the benefits of computers in schools. But, says David Theo Goldberg in a sophisticated article on DMLcentral, when computers fail kids, it’s too easy to blame the technology.

“Unlike television, and perhaps more like automobiles, computers are far from passive consumptive technologies. They enable, if not encourage, interactive engagement, creativity, and participatory interaction with others. The interaction can assume various forms, not all productive. Yet like the appealing impacts of both television and automobile access for youth, the productive and creative capacities of computing technology for ordinary users are staggering. The question then is not the false dilemma between unqualified good and evil, but how best to enable the productive learning possibilities of new digital technologies.”

Read article

25 May 2010

Growing up online

Growning up online
In Growing Up Online, the American public affairs series FRONTLINE takes viewers inside the very public private worlds that kids are creating online, raising important questions about how the Internet is transforming childhood.

“The Internet and the digital world was something that belonged to adults, and now it’s something that really is the province of teenagers, ” says C.J. Pascoe, a postdoctoral scholar with the University of California, Berkeley’s Digital Youth Research project.

“They’re able to have a private space, even while they’re still at home. They’re able to communicate with their friends and have an entire social life outside of the purview of their parents, without actually having to leave the house.”

As more and more kids grow up online, parents are finding themselves on the outside looking in. “I remember being 11; I remember being 13; I remember being 16, and I remember having secrets,” mother of four Evan Skinner says. “But it’s really hard when it’s the other side.”

At school, teachers are trying to figure out how to reach a generation that no longer reads books or newspapers. “We can’t possibly expect the learner of today to be engrossed by someone who speaks in a monotone voice with a piece of chalk in their hand,” one school principal says.

“We almost have to be entertainers,” social studies teacher Steve Maher tells FRONTLINE. “They consume so much media. We have to cut through that cloud of information around them, cut through that media, and capture their attention.”

Fears of online predators have led teachers and parents to focus heavily on keeping kids safe online. But many children think these fears are misplaced. “My parents don’t understand that I’ve spent pretty much since second grade online,” one ninth-grader says. “I know what to avoid.”

Many Internet experts agree with the kids. “Everyone is panicking about sexual predators online. That’s what parents are afraid of; that’s what parents are paying attention to,” says Parry Aftab, an Internet security expert and executive director of WiredSafety.org. But the real concern, she says, is the trouble that kids might get into on their own. Through social networking and other Web sites, kids with eating disorders share tips about staying thin, and depressed kids can share information about the best ways to commit suicide.

Another threat is “cyberbullying,” as schoolyard taunts, insults and rumors find their way online. John Halligan‘s son Ryan was bullied for months at school and online before he ultimately hanged himself in October 2003. “I clearly made a mistake putting that computer in his room. I allowed the computer to become too much of his life,” Halligan tells FRONTLINE. “The computer and the Internet were not the cause of my son’s suicide, but I believe they helped amplify and accelerate the hurt and the pain that he was trying to deal with that started in person, in the real world.”

“You have a generation faced with a society with fundamentally different properties, thanks to the Internet,” says Danah Boyd, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. “It’s a question for us of how we teach ourselves and our children to live in a society where these properties are fundamentally a way of life. This is public life today.”

Watch programme online

17 May 2010

User experiences for children, for seniors and for play

UX Matters
UX Matters is another one of these great resources for the user experience community. Here three recent articles:

Designing user experiences for children
By Heather Nam (Mediabarn)
Creating a great experience for Web site users should always take the users’ perspectives into consideration. While a user’s age can be a contributing factor in a design’s success for a particular user, demographic information should not trump design conventions. Then, why do UX designers struggle when creating Web sites for children?

Designing for senior citizens | Organizing your work schedule
By Janet M. Six
Every month in this column, the Ask UXmatters experts (this month: Steve Baty, Dana Chisnell, Pabini Gabriel-Petit, Caroline Jarrett, Janet Six and Daniel Szuc) answer readers’ questions about user experience matters. The questions this month:
– What fonts and colors are easiest for senior citizens to read online? Do you have any other tips for me? I am building an informational Web site for senior citizens.
– What are your favorite tools for organizing your work schedule? Do you organize such information on your computer, your phone, or on paper?

Playful user experiences
By Shira Gutgold
Rather than trying to motivate users to go down routes they have no personal motivation to follow or to use a new feature they’ve never seen before and are perhaps a little wary of trying out, why not tap into people’s existing motivations and use their natural inclinations to encourage them to interact with our products? The most evident natural motivation is play.

28 February 2010

New media and its superpowers

Mimi Ito
Mimi Ito, cultural anthropologist and associate researcher at the University of California Humanities Research Institute, co-led a MacArthur Foundation-funded three year ethnographic study, the Digital Youth Project (DYP), which looked at how young people interact with new media at home, in after-school programs, and in online spaces-and found much to celebrate in the learning they observed.

But many adults don’t see it that way-yet. During a talk at a recent US educational conference, Ito projected an image of a newspaper article that appeared after DYP issued its first press release. The researchers reported that kids are engaging in diversified and valuable dimensions of learning online. The banner headline reporting their findings proclaimed, “Chill Out, Parents.”

“That outtake focused more on inter-generational tension than on our findings,” Ito said. “The headline assumes that parents are uptight, or should be, about kids’ online activity.”

Today’s kids are growing up in a radically different media environment than their parents-and teachers-did. They are connected 24/7 to peers, to entertainment and to information. “Visceral, interactive, immersive experiences are available when and where kids want them,” Ito said.

The availability of all that compelling entertainment and information has created a gap, Ito says, between in-school and out-of-school experience. Schools need to figure out how to leverage the power of kids’ engagement with media for learning in school as well as outside it.

Read presentation transcript
Read article about Ito’s presentation

20 January 2010

If your kids are awake, they’re probably online

Generation M2
The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones.

And because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.

Read full story

12 November 2009

Matt Webb presentation at UX Week 2009 (video)

Matt Webb
Matt Webb of Berg was one of the speakers at UX Week 2009, a conference in San Francisco organised by Adapative Path.

In his presentation “Design Is In Your Hands,” Matt talked about developing products and learning from mistakes, and shared the lessons that his company grappled with during the design and production of their first major product, writes Andrew Crow on the Adaptive Path blog.

Matt talks about how smart products bring their own design challenges. Internet-connected devices and plastic filled with electronics behave in unexpected ways: what does it means for a physical thing to side-load its behaviour, or for a toy to have its own presence in your social network? What we’ve learned about user experience on the Web is a great place to start: social software, adaptation, designing for action creating action — these are principles familiar on the Web, and still valuable when design is not on the screen but in your hands.

Matt’s story is important, writes Andrew, for anyone who is developing new products and experiences – physical or digital. Being selective about your innovation and looking for the one thing that your customers can get excited about is a guiding product development principle that we can all remember.

Watch talk

A lot more videos can be found on the home page of UX Week 2009.