Touchscreen Interaction Design Recommendations for Children (TIDRC)

Touchscreen Interaction Design Recommendations for Children (TIDRC)

The developmental appropriateness of software has a significant impact on children’s learning, and using software that does not accommodate children’s developing cognitive, physical and socio-emotional abilities can have a detrimental effect on children’s creative skills [1]. A number of HCI researchers have recommended interface design guidelines for better meeting the cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional needs of children. However, such evidence-based design recommendations for children’s touchscreen interfaces are often scattered within the academic literature, making them less accessible to developers [2]. 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 characterize the nature of the gap between research and practice for touchscreen interface design for children. To explore the research-practice gap, in this project we conducted a meta-analysis to create a conceptual framework of Touchscreen Interaction Design Recommendations for Children (TIDRC, “tide-rock”) for children ages 2 to 11. The TIDRC framework conceptually group 57 interface design recommendations based on children’s unique cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional abilities and note the developmental stage (i.e., pre-operational in ages 2 to 7, concrete operational in ages 7 to 11, or both stages from ages 2 to 11) for which each recommendation should apply.

The evidence-based TIDRC framework is introduced and outlined in our recent paper at the ACM Interaction Design and Children conference (IDC’2019). The paper also presents an empirical analysis of 50 free iPad apps for children to demonstrate how the framework can be used to assess whether research-based design guidelines are being implemented in practice. The TIDRC framework guide as a one-sheet download is available to download here for researchers and interface design practitioners.

Do you have new research that should be added to the framework? Contact us!

[1] Computers in the Early Childhood Classroom. Retrieved September 9, 2018, from

[2] Donald A. Norman. 2010. The Research-Practice Gap: The Need for Translational Developers. Interactions 17, 4: 9–12.

The Team

Dr. Lisa Anthony
Dr. Pamela Wisniewski (UCF)
Nikita Soni
Aishat Aloba
Kristen Morga (Former member)


Soni, Nikita, Aloba, Aishat, Morga, Kristen S., Wisniewski, Pamela J., and Anthony, Lisa. 2019. A Framework of Touchscreen Interaction Design Recommendations for Children (TIDRC): Characterizing the Gap between Research Evidence and Design Practice. In Proceedings of the Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC’19), Boise, ID, USA, June 12-15, to appear. [PDF]