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Tablets and kids: creative opportunities with apps empowering young children

  • Wouter Sluis-Thiescheffer and Brian Pagán
  • Sep 26, 2012
  • English

Young children use tablets in ways they do not use mobile phones and computers. We find evidence in developmental theories that touch interfaces and larger screens afford better usability, while tablets’ social nature keeps them accessible to children. Because of that, they have become powerful consumers of digital content.

An increasing number of apps is made for them, but the digital world has far to go in its child-centric offering. App stores have yet to explicitly support searching for children’s apps, and some apps are well-intentioned but misguided in their experience designs.

Interaction styles that begin in gaming often transition into the computing mainstream. This trend will continue, and it gives us one more reason to work with children in a digital environment.

How to proceed? Apps like PizzaBot, a game designed by 12-year-old Harry Moran that briefly ousted Angry Birds from the bestseller spot in the Mac App Store, show that we underestimate kids to our peril. This talk discusses different ways to involve children in the design process, not only as informative users, but also as designers and decision-makers.

Wouter Sluis-Thiescheffer

Wouter Sluis-Thiescheffer

User Research Consultant at User Intelligence

Wouter is a User Research Consultant at User Intelligence. He has a background in neuro-linguistics and User System Interaction with children and has been a design researcher on involving children in the design process.

As a consultant, Wouter has worked for small and global enterprises. His activities include the development of conceptual designs, but primarily design research around online desktop and mobile applications. He spends his spare time on race rowing, cycling, sailing, and having a good time with family and friends.

Brian Pagán

User Experience Consultant at User Intelligence

Brian currently works as a User Experience Consultant for User Intelligence in Amsterdam. He holds an MSc in Industrial Psychology as well as a PDEng in User-System Interaction. His primary interests are Mobile UX, Social Media, Online Strategy, and Service Design.

Pretty much a drama club geek turned psychologist, he got into web and visual design while paying for college. Since then, he has gotten into UX, given a few talks, and travels whenever possible. An ENFP, he loves dancing salsa (still learning), watching old movies, and singing karaoke.

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