Tag Archives: mtagic

MTAGIC IJCCI article now available online.

In a previous post, we announced our International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction article “Children (and Adults) Benefit From Visual Feedback during Gesture Interaction on Mobile Touchscreen Devices” was accepted for publication. Quite a long while later, we’re pleased that the definitive version is finally available online here. Please cite this version wherever applicable.

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Two workshop papers accepted at IDC 2015!

My lab has had two papers accepted to workshops at the upcoming ACM Interaction Design and Children conference, to be held later this month in Boston, MA. The first paper is for the Innovations in Interaction Design and Learning workshop, and reports what we’ve learned on the MTAGIC project so far regarding using HCI principles to design effective educational technology. See the paper here.

The other is for the Every Child a Coder? Research Challenges for a 5-18 Programming Curriculum workshop, and is a paper first-authored by my Ph.D. student Jeremiah Blanchard on his vision for open research challenges in transitioning students from blocks-based to “real” programming languages. His co-advisor and my colleague Christina Gardner-McCune is also an author. You can read the paper here.

We’re looking forward to the conference!

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MTAGIC project releases UI Design Guidelines app!

The MTAGIC Project, which is studying differences in how children and adults interact with touchscreen devices, has released a new open-source app to help developers implement the design recommendations we included in our research papers. Based on findings from our studies of children and adults using mobile touchscreen devices, we found that children have more difficulty successfully acquiring touch targets and making consistent gestures than adults do. We developed recommendations for how to design touchscreen interfaces to increase children’s success, and those are demonstrated in a handy Android app illustrating how to integrate the design recommendations into your own apps. Check out screenshots, a video demo, and the source code itself for the app here.

If you use this app in your own apps or in your research, we want to hear about it! Drop us a line or post a comment here! Of course, citations to the design recommendations we make in our papers are always welcome as well.

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MTAGIC project paper accepted to IJCCI!

We are pleased to announce that a new paper on the MTAGIC project has been accepted to the International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction! The paper, entitled “Children (and Adults) Benefit From Visual Feedback during Gesture Interaction on Mobile Touchscreen Devices,” is an extension of our IDC 2013 paper on visual feedback and gestural interaction for children and adults. The journal version examines more features and additional recognizers to uncover the effects of presence or absence of visual feedback during gestural interaction. Here is the abstract:

Surface gesture interaction styles used on mobile touchscreen devices often depend on the platform and application. Some applications show a visual trace of gesture input being 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 extend our previous work on an empirical study conducted with children, teens, and adults to explore characteristics of gesture interaction with and without visual feedback. We analyze 9 simple and 7 complex gesture features to determine whether differences exist between users of different age groups when completing surface gestures with and without visual feedback. We find that the gestures generated diverge significantly in ways that make them difficult to interpret by some recognizers. For example, users tend to make gestures with fewer strokes in the absence of visual feedback, and tend to make shorter, more compact gestures using straighter lines in the presence of visual feedback. In addition, users prefer to see visual feedback. Based on these findings, we present design recommendations for surface gesture interfaces for children, teens, and adults on mobile touchscreen devices. We recommend providing visual feedback, especially for children, wherever possible.

When this article is officially published, I’ll add a link, but until then, you can check out the preprint version.

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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 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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