Author: Nikita Soni

The INIT Lab, in collaboration with Dr. Pamela Wisniewski from the University of Central Florida (UCF) has been working on a project whose aim is to understand the real-world interface design practices of developers of children’s mobile touchscreen apps. We developed an evidence-based framework of Touchscreen Interaction Design Recommendations for Children (TIDRC, “tide-rock”) for children ages 2 to 11, that synthesizes research-based design recommendations for these apps based on children’s cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional needs. We are pleased to report that our paper presenting this framework and evaluation, titled “A Framework of Touchscreen Interaction Design Recommendations for Children (TIDRC): Characterizing the Gap between Research Evidence and Design Practice,” was accepted as a full paper at ACM Interaction Design and Children (IDC 2019) conference.

Here is the abstract:
“HCI researchers have established a number of evidence-based design recommendations for children’s touchscreen interfaces based on developmental appropriateness. Yet, these recommendations are scattered within the academic literature and lack a cohesive framework that makes them accessible to app designers. We created a framework of actionable Touchscreen Interaction Design Recommendations for Children (TIDRC, “tide-rock”) by conducting a comprehensive review of the relevant literature. We used our TIDRC framework as a lens to empirically evaluate whether these evidence-based design recommendations were implemented within 50 popular iPad apps designed for children. We found a significant gap between research and practice. On average, only 63% of these apps followed design recommendations for meeting children’s cognitive (51%), physical (67%), and socio-emotional (72%) needs. We characterize the nature of this gap and discuss opportunities for closing it when designing mobile touchscreen interfaces for children.”

Interested readers can find the camera-ready version (preprint) available here, and you can download the framework itself here. The IDC 2019 conference will take place in Boise, Idaho, June 12-15. My PhD advisor, Dr. Lisa Anthony will be presenting our paper at the conference. Personally, this paper will always be special since the TIDRC project was my first research project in the INIT lab when I joined as an M.S. student. Working closely under the guidance of my advisor and Dr. Wisniewski has really taught me the process involved in writing good qualitative research papers.

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Check out our recent blog post on the TIDESS website!

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Check out our recent blog post on the TIDESS website!

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Check out our recent blog post on the TIDESS website!

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Check out our recent blog post on the TIDESS website!

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Check out our recent blog post on the TIDESS website!

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Check out our recent blog post on the TIDESS website!

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The main purpose of the Kids Application survey project is to help generate constructive recommendations for designing touchscreen interfaces specifically tailored towards kids. In our current study, we are taking inspiration by surveying interfaces of existing kid’s applications and are trying to decipher common interface/design patterns. We are presently in the process of creating categories for different aspects like Graphics, Gestures, etc. commonly found in kid’s applications which would help us understand interface patterns. These patterns would later help in drafting the analysis that would serve as a useful tool for developers to make more relevant kids application interfaces. We will be running our study on most downloaded kid’s applications (compatible with iPad/iPod Touch/iPhone/Android) under different categories.

I am a Master’s Student at University of Florida studying computer science. This qualitative analysis process has helped me gain a good understanding in conducting research. We are targeting to collect patterns from 100 applications. The next phase of project would include coding the patterns encountered from the analyzed data.

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