Tag Archives: children

IDC 2013 talks and poster posted!

This past week the Interaction Design for Children (IDC) conference was held in New York City! It was a great conference on lots of cutting edge research and design work being done in the area of children interacting with technology, ranging from exercise games to educational applications to kids with special needs. There were also great demos of some of the exciting projects.

I presented a paper on the MTAGIC project’s findings related to the impact of visual feedback on gesture interaction for kids. For those interested, check out the slides. UMBC PhD student Germaine Irwin presented the MTAGIC project’s poster on the use of gamification elements to encourage children to stay focused during empirical studies. She did a great job on the madness-talk (only 15 seconds!) and discussing the poster with interested people.

Next year IDC 2014 will be held in Aarhus, Denmark, home of LEGO!

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IDC 2013 short paper on gamifying empirical studies for kids!

I’m pleased to announce that the MTAGIC project has had a poster accepted to the Interaction Design and Children (IDC) 2013 conference coming up this month in New York City! This poster paper was led by UMBC Human-Centered Computing (HCC) PhD student Robin Brewer. While doing an independent study with me, Robin investigated ways of motivating young children (ages 5 to 7 years old) to complete activities during empirical studies. Her initial explorations showed that this age group found the tasks boring and tedious, even though they had been done by older kids and adults without a problem. ‘Gamifying’ the tasks by adding a points-based reward structure along with physical prizes encouraged the kids to enthusiastically complete the activities. We recommend considering such gamification components for empirical studies with this age group. You can read the abstract below. For more details, see the paper. Come check out our poster if you’ll be at the conference!

In this paper, we describe the challenges we encountered and solutions we developed while collecting mobile touch and gesture interaction data in laboratory conditions from children ages 5 to 7 years old. We identify several challenges of conducting empirical studies with young children, including study length, motivation, and environment. We then propose and validate techniques for designing study protocols for this age group, focusing on the use of gamification components to better engage children in laboratory studies. The use of gamification increased our study task completion rates from 73% to 97%. This research contributes a better understanding of how to design study protocols for young children when lab studies are needed or preferred. Research with younger age groups alongside older children, adults, and special populations can lead to  more sound guidelines for universal usability of mobile applications.

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Come see our CHI 2013 Best Paper Award talk!

If you are in Paris at CHI 2013 this week, come see me present our ‘Best Paper Award’ winner “Analyzing User-Generated YouTube Videos to Understand Touchscreen Use by People with Motor Impairments” ! The talk will be on Tuesday, April 30th, from 11:20am to 11:40am in the Impairment and Rehabilitation session in room 242AB. Watch our video preview (narrated by my talented co-author Leah Findlater!) for a sneak peek:

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IDC 2013 paper accepted on feedback for gesture interaction with kids!

Over the past year on the MTAGIC project, we’ve been investigating differences in how children and adults make gestures and touch targets on mobile touchscreen devices. We have designed our study tasks to reflect the designs of existing apps on the market today, and have recently examined our data to understand the impact of visual feedback on gesture interaction for kids. Our paper on this topic, “Examining the Need for Visual Feedback during Gesture Interaction on Mobile Touchscreen Devices for Kids,” has been accepted to the Interaction Design and Children (IDC) conference! Read the abstract:

Surface gesture interaction styles used on modern mobile touchscreen devices are often dependent on the platform and application. Some applications show a visual trace of gesture input as it is made by the user, whereas others do not.  Little work has been done examining the usability of visual feedback for surface gestures, especially for children. In this paper, we present results from an empirical study conducted with children, teens, and adults to explore characteristics of  gesture interaction with and without visual feedback. We find that the gestures generated with and without visual feedback by users of different ages diverge significantly in ways that make them difficult to interpret. In addition, users prefer to see visual feedback. Based on these findings, we present several design recommendations for new surface gesture interfaces for children, teens, and adults on mobile touchscreen devices. In general, we recommend providing visual feedback, especially for children, wherever possible.

As usual, you can find the camera-ready version of this paper here. See you in New York City this June!

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Special Issue of JPUC to appear with article on MTAGIC project!

An upcoming special issue of the Springer Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing (JPUC) on Educational Interfaces, Software, and Technology (EIST) will include an article on the MTAGIC project! This article, entitled “Designing Smarter Touch-Based Interfaces for Educational Contexts,” is an extension of our CHI 2012 EIST workshop paper. We report our foundational studies investigating children’s touch and gesture input patterns, and how they differ from adults, with some discussion of how these findings will impact the design and development of educational apps for touchscreen devices. Here is the abstract:

In next-generation classrooms and educational environments, interactive technologies such as surface computing, natural gesture interfaces, and mobile devices will enable new means of motivating and engaging students in active learning. Our foundational studies provide a corpus of over 10,000 touch interactions and nearly 7,000 gestures collected from nearly 70 adults and children ages 7 years old and up,  that can help us understand the characteristics of children’s interactions in these modalities and how they differ from adults. Based on these data, we identify key design and implementation challenges of supporting children’s touch and gesture interactions, and we suggest ways to address them. For example, we find children have more trouble successfully acquiring onscreen targets and having their gestures recognized than do adults, especially the youngest age group (7 to 10 years old). The contributions of this work provide a foundation that enables touch-based interactive educational apps that increase student success.

I’ll add a post when this special issue is officially published. For now, if you’re interested, you can check out the camera-ready version.

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