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!
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.
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!
February was a great month over here with lots of good news coming in about conference and journal paper acceptances! The MTAGIC project will be well-represented at the upcoming CHI 2013 conference, with two workshop papers accepted on different aspects of the project (the workshops are RepliCHI and Mobile Accessibility). We’ve also heard great news that two papers about our work with kids and mobile touchscreen devices will appear at IDC 2013 and in an upcoming special issue of the Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing!
In other news, my project with Jacob O. Wobbrock and Radu-Daniel Vatavu on using patterns in how people make surface gestures to inform the design of better gesture sets and gesture recognizers (e.g., the $-family of recognizers) will appear at GI 2013. And, last but not least, my side project with Leah Findlater on understanding how people with physical impairments, including children, are using mainstream mobile touchscreen devices in their daily lives will receive a ‘Best Paper Award’ at CHI 2013! This award is an honor only the top 1% of submissions receive, and we are very honored our work was selected to be among such great company.
Look for more details on each of these upcoming papers in blog posts throughout March and April, and you can already see them listed in my current CV if you are interested.