One of the main goals of the INIT Lab is to build more natural user interfaces for children. A source of inspiration for our work is looking at existing applications and interfaces and learning what works and what does not work for kids. We are currently working on creating a definitive list of which currently available mobile apps are the most popular among children (and therefore being used a lot). Although services like the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store provide a list of the most downloaded apps for each category, they give no indication of how long each app is used after being downloaded. In addition to this, it is impossible to know if a child or an adult downloaded an app, even if it is in a category for children. We are working on an online survey for parents that aims to determine what current mobile apps children are using the most. With this information and our analysis of it, developers will be able to model the user interface of their mobile applications after ones that they know work well with children.
I am a first year undergraduate student at the University of Florida studying Computer Science. Working on the Apps for Kids project has been an excellent opportunity, and has allowed me to gain valuable experience in conducting research. In particular, I have learned a great deal about how to design intuitive surveys that collect meaningful data.