Evaluating Children's Interactive Products

1st Edition

Principles and Practices for Interaction Designers

Authors: Panos Markopoulos Janet Read Stuart MacFarlane Johanna Hoysniemi
Paperback ISBN: 9780123741110
eBook ISBN: 9780080558257
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 22nd May 2008
Page Count: 400
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Table of Contents


1 WHAT IS A CHILD Age and Children Learning about Children Theories of Child Development Perspectives on Child Development Typical Stages of Development Child Development and the Evaluation of Interactive Products The Temperament of Children Reducing the Effects of Temperament Conclusion Further Reading

2 CHILDREN AND INTERACTIVE TECHNOLOGY Interactive Products Interactive Products for Children How Children Use Interactive Products How Good Is Interactive Technology for Children? Gender and Technology Summary Further Reading

3 THE INTERACTIVE PRODUCT LIFECYCLE Interaction Design and Evaluation The Product Lifecycle Using Prototypes in Evaluation Involving Children in Design and Evaluation Further Reading


4 ETHICAL PRACTICE IN EVALUATIONS Ethical Principles, Approaches, and Codes Safety and Risk Assessment Consent Inducements for Taking Part Ethical Selection of Participants Privacy Getting Advice and Permission Further Reading

5 PLANNING THE EVALUATION STUDY Defining the Purpose of the Evaluation Evaluation Criteria Choosing Evaluation Methods Reliability of Evaluation Results Field versus Lab: More than Just a Location! The Evaluation Plan—Why Make One? Summary Further Reading <


Interactive products designed for children—whether toys, games, educational products, or websites—are increasingly embedded in children’s lives and school experiences. Making these products safe, effective, and entertaining requires new methodologies for carrying out sound and unbiased evaluations for these users with unique requirements, environments, and ethical considerations.

This book directly addresses this need by thoroughly covering the evaluation of all types of interactive technology for children. Based on the authors' workshops, conference courses, and own design experience and research, this highly practical book reads like a handbook, while being thoroughly grounded in the latest research. Throughout, the authors illustrate techniques and principles with numerous mini case studies and highlight practical information in tips and exercises and conclude with three in-depth case studies. Essential reading for usability experts, product developers, and researchers in the field.

Key Features

  • Presents an essential background in child development and child psychology, particularly as they relate to technology.

  • Captures best practices for observing and surveying children, training evaluators, and capturing the child user experience using audio and visual technology.

  • Examines ethical and legal issues involved in working with children and offers guidelines for effective risk management.


Professionals and students who are working on the design of a product whose intended audience is children. This market includes usability experts, product developers of web sites, software--whether games or educational or both--and researchers who are building or evaluating products in the lab for R&D or prototype/projects.

Three of the four authors are academics and teach courses on this, and one school, the University of Central Lancashire has a degree program in this area. So there are some limited opportunities for adoptions but there are some.


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© Morgan Kaufmann 2008
Morgan Kaufmann
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Evaluating Children’s Interactive Products provides numerous practical suggestions based on the authors’ considerable experience and wisdom. The authors present a powerful case for the importance of beginning the evaluation process by spending time with children and attempting to see the world through their eyes. The emphasis on the often overlooked aspects of evaluation, ,is refreshing and makes this book a “must read” for anyone truly dedicated to providing valuable insight on behalf of children and improving the products intended for their use. - Kristin Alexander, Group Research Manager, Microsoft Evaluating Children's Interactive Products gives a great introduction to a wide range of methods for working with children. It is an excellent resource for students and researchers alike. - Dr Judy Robertson, Lecturer, Computer Science, Heriot-Watt University. There is nothing more important than improving the lives of children. This book offers a way for industry professionals and academic researchers to understand the needs of young people, which can lead the way to better new technologies. There is a wealth of information, experience, and inspiration that the authors share that will ask you to first consider, or spend some time re-examining, what is possible and important for children.- Allison Druin, Director, Human-Computer Interaction Lab, Associate Professor, University of Maryland Evaluating Children’s Interactive Products fills a void in the literature by providing practical advice based on the authors’ experience, a thorough survey of evaluation methods, as well as valuable real world examples. It brings together valuable information and experiences that would have previously required reading dozens of papers and several books. The authors have been heavily involved in the interaction design and children research community and it shows in the breadth and depth of topics covered

About the Authors

Panos Markopoulos Author

Affiliations and Expertise

Eindhoven University of Technology, Belgium

Janet Read Author

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Central Lancashire, UK

Stuart MacFarlane Author

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Central Lancashire, UK

Johanna Hoysniemi Author

Affiliations and Expertise

Movial Corporation, Finland