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!
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!