Designing adaptive interfaces for children
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Designing adaptive interfaces for children

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A preliminary study on the effect of age and gender on children’s interaction in the context of dialoguing with computers. Master's thesis of Mohan Raj Rajamanickam. Thesis at ...

A preliminary study on the effect of age and gender on children’s interaction in the context of dialoguing with computers. Master's thesis of Mohan Raj Rajamanickam. Thesis at https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/39441

More info @ http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~mohanr/

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  • Hello everyone, I am Mohan presenting my thesis on designing adaptive interfaces for children based on their age and gender.There is a “Towards” in the title because we haven’t designed adaptive interfaces yet. But we have come up with some design implications for constructing adaptive interfaces for children.Before we go further into the presentation, I thank Dr. Charlotte tang for her many contributions – right from helping me with the study to reviewing the thesis.(I also thank Prof. Gail for being the second reader).
  • The motivation or the overarchinggoal of our research was to design adaptive interfaces for children based on age and gender differences.Why? Because as children age their capabilities undergo a huge change. We don’t think it is appropriate that to give the same toys, books, movies for a 3 year old as well as a 12 year old. But then, why should we, as designers, think it is ok to design interfaces for children considering them as a single group.So, our goal was to design interfaces taking into account the inherent differences between children of different age and genderTo createInterfaces that are not just usable But also developmentally appropriate
  • The motivation or the overarchinggoal of our research was to design adaptive interfaces for children based on age and gender differences.Why? Because as children age their capabilities undergo a huge change. We don’t think it is appropriate that to give the same toys, books, movies for a 3 year old as well as a 12 year old. But then, why should we, as designers, think it is ok to design interfaces for children considering them as a single group.So, our goal was to design interfaces taking into account the inherent differences between children of different age and genderTo createInterfaces that are not just usable But also developmentally appropriate
  • The motivation or the overarchinggoal of our research was to design adaptive interfaces for children based on age and gender differences.Why? Because as children age their capabilities undergo a huge change. We don’t think it is appropriate that to give the same toys, books, movies for a 3 year old as well as a 12 year old. But then, why should we, as designers, think it is ok to design interfaces for children considering them as a single group.So, our goal was to design interfaces taking into account the inherent differences between children of different age and genderTo createInterfaces that are not just usable But also developmentally appropriate
  • The motivation or the overarchinggoal of our research was to design adaptive interfaces for children based on age and gender differences.Why? Because as children age their capabilities undergo a huge change. We don’t think it is appropriate that to give the same toys, books, movies for a 3 year old as well as a 12 year old. But then, why should we, as designers, think it is ok to design interfaces for children considering them as a single group.So, our goal was to design interfaces taking into account the inherent differences between children of different age and genderTo createInterfaces that are not just usable But also developmentally appropriate
  • The motivation or the overarchinggoal of our research was to design adaptive interfaces for children based on age and gender differences.Why? Because as children age their capabilities undergo a huge change. We don’t think it is appropriate that to give the same toys, books, movies for a 3 year old as well as a 12 year old. But then, why should we, as designers, think it is ok to design interfaces for children considering them as a single group.So, our goal was to design interfaces taking into account the inherent differences between children of different age and genderTo createInterfaces that are not just usable But also developmentally appropriate
  • We conducted 2 studies towards this goal: one exploratory and one observational study. In total 195 children participated in our studies = 111 + 84Aged between 3 to 12In the first study we identified dialog boxes as one of the significant problems faced by children.We came up with solutions and evaluated a total of 8 design factors in our second study.And then we have come up with a set of design implications for designing adaptive interfaces for children
  • Both the studies were conducted in Science world, vancouver – which is a place filled with fun & educational activities for children.(unfortunately we had to compete against the activities)We had 2 laptops put up with a poster for participation. Any child between age of 3 to 12 was welcome to participate.We had a modified version of the popular open source painting application ‘Tux Paint’ running in the laptops. We had instrumented the application to record all actions on the interface.Like all other activities @ SW, we had set this up in the open, so that the children could just hop on to the computers & paint.The children could paint whatever they wanted for however long they wanted. We would give them a printout of their painting at the end of their session. The average session lasted about 13 minutes. There were many challenges in conducting the study in the wild.Such as convincing the parents who don’t expect to see a study in SW. And since we had 2 laptops going and sometimes only one researcher, it was tough to make thorough observations for all sessions.
  • Both the studies were conducted in Science world, vancouver – which is a place filled with fun & educational activities for children.(unfortunately we had to compete against the activities)We had 2 laptops put up with a poster for participation. Any child between age of 3 to 12 was welcome to participate.We had a modified version of the popular open source painting application ‘Tux Paint’ running in the laptops. We had instrumented the application to record all actions on the interface.Like all other activities @ SW, we had set this up in the open, so that the children could just hop on to the computers & paint.The children could paint whatever they wanted for however long they wanted. We would give them a printout of their painting at the end of their session. The average session lasted about 13 minutes. There were many challenges in conducting the study in the wild.Such as convincing the parents who don’t expect to see a study in SW. And since we had 2 laptops going and sometimes only one researcher, it was tough to make thorough observations for all sessions.
  • Both the studies were conducted in Science world, vancouver – which is a place filled with fun & educational activities for children.(unfortunately we had to compete against the activities)We had 2 laptops put up with a poster for participation. Any child between age of 3 to 12 was welcome to participate.We had a modified version of the popular open source painting application ‘Tux Paint’ running in the laptops. We had instrumented the application to record all actions on the interface.Like all other activities @ SW, we had set this up in the open, so that the children could just hop on to the computers & paint.The children could paint whatever they wanted for however long they wanted. We would give them a printout of their painting at the end of their session. The average session lasted about 13 minutes. There were many challenges in conducting the study in the wild.Such as convincing the parents who don’t expect to see a study in SW. And since we had 2 laptops going and sometimes only one researcher, it was tough to make thorough observations for all sessions.
  • Our first study was exploratory in nature with the goal of finding out what difficulties children faced with software in general and to observe interaction differences by age and gender.So what did we find out?
  • Here is a summary of the gender differences that we found,presentedinformally.Creativity (2-5)7 -> 68 -> 9Besides gender differences, we found that children had difficulty with dialog boxes. Before we see what the problems were .. I want to present a classification of children based on age.
  • We categorized children into three groups: pre-literates, semi-literates and literateswith children in each group sharing common behavioral patterns. This classification is based on literature and our observations.We believed that these groups could potentially benefit from different targeted designs. Back to the problems with dialogs..
  • We identified 6 problems with dialogs.Not being able to make the link between their action and the resultant dialog.The modal nature of a dialog box confuses many children as to why they cannot continue interacting with the software. Not being able to understand that the software is trying to have a conversation with themNot being able to understand the content of the communication. i.e not being able to read the text on the dialog or understand represented abstractions such as filesystemsNot understanding the full implications of their choices and then having to deal with the –ve consequences made in hasteNot wanting to spend time reading / understanding what the software is trying to communicate to themWe classified the problems by age groups. We found that1.Pre-literates were affected for the most part with problems of causality, hindrance, affordance,communication and consequence; 2. semi-literates with the problem of consequence and to a lesser extent with problems of communication and patience; and 3.literates with the problem of patience and to a lesser extent with the problem of consequence.
  • Having identified the problems, we came up with 8 design factors. We will see some of the design factors.
  • Color coding the safer option using green and the potentially disrupting using Orange to illustrate the consequences.Highlighting the safer option, again, to illustrate the consequencesSplitting the dialog into two: with the question originating from the program’s mascot and the choices from the user icon, to improve affordances of dialoguingTo minimize the –ve consequences of choices made in haste, we used 2 factorsA “I don’t know” button which was intended to offer an easier way out of the dialog Enabling safer choices earlier in time – with the hope that if children were to arbitrarily click on something, they would click on the first revealed safer choicesWe manipulated the visibility of title and body text to understand their role in communicating the content of the dialog
  • Color coding the safer option using green and the potentially disrupting using Orange to illustrate the consequences.Highlighting the safer option, again, to illustrate the consequencesSplitting the dialog into two: with the question originating from the program’s mascot and the choices from the user icon, to improve affordances of dialoguingTo minimize the –ve consequences of choices made in haste, we used 2 factorsA “I don’t know” button which was intended to offer an easier way out of the dialog Enabling safer choices earlier in time – with the hope that if children were to arbitrarily click on something, they would click on the first revealed safer choicesWe manipulated the visibility of title and body text to understand their role in communicating the content of the dialog
  • Color coding the safer option using green and the potentially disrupting using Orange to illustrate the consequences.Highlighting the safer option, again, to illustrate the consequencesSplitting the dialog into two: with the question originating from the program’s mascot and the choices from the user icon, to improve affordances of dialoguingTo minimize the –ve consequences of choices made in haste, we used 2 factorsA “I don’t know” button which was intended to offer an easier way out of the dialog Enabling safer choices earlier in time – with the hope that if children were to arbitrarily click on something, they would click on the first revealed safer choicesWe manipulated the visibility of title and body text to understand their role in communicating the content of the dialog
  • Color coding the safer option using green and the potentially disrupting using Orange to illustrate the consequences.Highlighting the safer option, again, to illustrate the consequencesSplitting the dialog into two: with the question originating from the program’s mascot and the choices from the user icon, to improve affordances of dialoguingTo minimize the –ve consequences of choices made in haste, we used 2 factorsA “I don’t know” button which was intended to offer an easier way out of the dialog Enabling safer choices earlier in time – with the hope that if children were to arbitrarily click on something, they would click on the first revealed safer choicesWe manipulated the visibility of title and body text to understand their role in communicating the content of the dialog
  • Color coding the safer option using green and the potentially disrupting using Orange to illustrate the consequences.Highlighting the safer option, again, to illustrate the consequencesSplitting the dialog into two: with the question originating from the program’s mascot and the choices from the user icon, to improve affordances of dialoguingTo minimize the –ve consequences of choices made in haste, we used 2 factorsA “I don’t know” button which was intended to offer an easier way out of the dialog Enabling safer choices earlier in time – with the hope that if children were to arbitrarily click on something, they would click on the first revealed safer choicesWe manipulated the visibility of title and body text to understand their role in communicating the content of the dialog
  • Color coding the safer option using green and the potentially disrupting using Orange to illustrate the consequences.Highlighting the safer option, again, to illustrate the consequencesSplitting the dialog into two: with the question originating from the program’s mascot and the choices from the user icon, to improve affordances of dialoguingTo minimize the –ve consequences of choices made in haste, we used 2 factorsA “I don’t know” button which was intended to offer an easier way out of the dialog Enabling safer choices earlier in time – with the hope that if children were to arbitrarily click on something, they would click on the first revealed safer choicesWe manipulated the visibility of title and body text to understand their role in communicating the content of the dialog
  • We wanted to rapidly iterate through the designs and get an idea of what would work and what would not.And since there were too many factors to run a controlled study, we evaluated the designs informally through the second study.The goal was to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. We had setup the dialogs to popup automatically at frequent time intervals.Children’s interactions with the dialogs were logged.So, some important things to note here are that:We didn’t control for factors in our studies – so it is not a fully controlled and counter-balanced studyThe primary quantitative data we collected was Reaction time (time between the dialog appearing on screen to a choice being clicked). There were many sources of noise to RT data :Distraction filled env of SW, parents sometimes helping the children, children getting help from usSo please remember that these following discussion is based on Noisy and unbalanced dataAnyway, what did we find out
  • Color coding slowed down clicking on the potentially disruptive option and hence seems successfulColor coding benefited pre-literates the most. This was expected as pre-literates would be the most inclined to look for non-textual cues when interacting with dialogs. But surprisingly it interacts negatively with age – slowing down literates considerably. This was not expected.
  • Highlighting sped up the interaction when the safer options ended up being clicked, which makes sense as the safer options were the ones highlighted. Hence it can be considered as successful.But overall it came off as a weaker cue when compared to color coding. E.g.When both Color coding and highlighting was present highlighting was redundant. Highlighting also did not seem to interact strongly with age as much as color coding did.Pre- and semi-literates benefitted similarly from highlightingwhile literates were slowed down SimilarlyGirls were relatively unaffected by highlighting (slowed down by 6%) while boys benefitted by it greatly (56% speed up).
  • The children did not seem to benefit from the split structure. They did not seem to be confused by it either. From our observation we could see no benefit of the split dialogs over the normal ones.But w.r.t RT, the differences between split and non-split dialogs increases with age; Older children are faster with split dialogs than younger children. Girls respond slower (by 40%) with split dialogs while boys respond faster (by 31%). Developmental research has shown that children become better at dealing with spatially distributed information structures as they get older.Similarly girls lag in development of spatial processing skills than boys.This could explain why older children and boys are faster with split dialogs
  • Delayed-click increased the chances of clicking on the safer “I don’t know” buttonWithout delayed-click majority of the children did not click the “I don’t know” button. With delayed-click, the frequency and speed of clicking the “I don’t know” button, which was revealed first as part of the effect, goes up at the expense of the last revealed button. In this respect, delayed-click accomplishes its design goal. But children disliked waiting before clicking. This was the one factor that they complained about the most.(This seemed like a good idea to us when we designed it.)
  • We had expected children to be confused and slowed down by hiding the body text and title.ButChildren did not ask us for help or any questions when the text went missing. Their interactions seemed no different regardless of whether or not the dialogs had body text and title. This was probably since the dialogs we designed had descriptive button text. But w.r.t RTs, Pre- and semi-literates were slowed down when the title or body text was present, while literates got faster.
  • To summarizeSplit-structure – older children and boys are fasterVisibility of text – only literates are faster (we don’t have enough data for girls)Color coding delayed the clicking of the potentially disruptive choice and interacted negatively with age.Highlighting vs. color coding. Highlighting did not interact strongly with reading ability or age in the way that color coding did. Highlighting seemed to be a weaker signal when compared to button color coding.Delayed-click increases the chances of clicking on the “I don’t know button”. But children disliked waiting.Pre-literates & Semi-literates were sped up by non-textual cues such as color coding and highlighting. They were both slowed down by having more text on the dialog. Semi-literates & literateswere sped up by split structure.Literates were sped having more text on the dialog and slowed down by all other factors such as color coding and highlighting.Girls interacted differently than boys with their RTs unaffected by factors such as color coding & highlighting; and slowed by split structures.
  • Armed with these findings, we have come up with some preliminary theories on information consumption – on how children consume information differently based on age and gender.Why ‘preliminary’? – because we don’t have sufficient data to come up with concrete theories.
  • I imagine that the there exists 2 channels for communicating information: textual channel & non-textual channelTextual channel with its higher speed along with higher accuracy and reliability lies at one end of the spectrum, while the non-textual channel with its lower speed accompanied with lower accuracy and reliability lies at the other end. (Here, Accuracy is the success associated with the communication of information on the dialog.Reliability is the ability to successfully reuse knowledge/cues across dialogs or with repeated instances of the same dialog.)
  • This is a model of how children consume information differently based on age. (walk through the diagram)There are the 3 age groupsWe can imagine the two channels to be lying at 2 ends – non-textual at this end and the textual at the other endChildren from different age groups could be seen consuming information from these channels differently. For example, pre-literates could learn to interact with the dialog by using non-textual cues such as color coding. Semi-literates could be using a mixture of cues from both channels - such as cueing in on a set of keywords in the body text along with cues such as color.Literates could be relying primarily on textual information ignoring non-textual cues due to their relatively higher ability to process textual information in a reliable manner. Thus at each stage along their development curve, children could be using mechanisms that best suit their skill set. So what are the implications of these findings and theories..
  • We have come to the last stage of this presentation.We will take a look at the design implications based on our observations and analysis. These could help designers to construct interfaces that adapt to the age and gender of the children.
  • Girls exhibit better reading ability, patience and thoroughness in processing the information on interfaces than boys. They are neutral to non-textual cues such as color coding or highlighting. This implies that we could present textual information to girls and expect them to interact reliably without non-textual cues. For boys, information should be presented in a format that assists easy and fast consumption – text augmented with non-textual cues such as color coding, highlighting etc.Girls do not perform well with spatially distributed structures such as split dialogs. Hence information should be presented to them in spatially cohesive structures.
  • Pre-literates are the biggest benefactors of non-textual cues such as color coding and highlighting. They perform the worst when there is just textual information without any non-textual cues. Hence interfaces designed for pre-literates should communicate the information primarily using non-textual cues such as color coding and highlighting. A minimal amount of text can be added to the interface for the benefit of those pre-literates who can read, to encourage and educate others who cannot read yet and for the benefit of the adults who want to help the children.Since semi-literates seem to be using a mixture of information channels, information should be presented to them using both text and non-textual cuesThey do better with minimal text information possibly owing to their limited ability in processing text.Hence the text information presented should contain just a few essential key words and be supplemented with non-textual cues.Literates perform well with textual information and poorly with non-textual cues.Subtler cues such as highlighting do not interfere as much. Hence if cues need to be used on the interface, subtler cues such as highlighting could be used. Powerful cues such as color-coding should be avoided for literates. That brings us to the end of our research
  • Here are some thoughts on future directions for this researchAs our studies were notcontrolled, controlled experiments investigating a subset of design factors in more detail, with counter balanced factors across age and gender, should be the next step.Designing effective icons for children, especially for different ages, fell out of scope of our research. Research in design and evaluation of icons, similar to that performed with other demographics such as with Rock’s ph.d research, should be replicated for children. Touch-screens have been observed to improve children’s interaction and even bring their performance closer to adults. We wonder how our observations and analysis would have been different (esp pre-lits) if we had used more usable input technologies such as touch interfaces.

Designing adaptive interfaces for children Designing adaptive interfaces for children Presentation Transcript

  • Towards Designing Adaptive interfaces for Children Studying the effect of Age and Gender in the context of Dialoguing with computers Mohan Raj Rajamanickam Dr. Charlotte Tang Professor Joanna McGrenere 1
  • Design Adaptive interfaces Motivation for children•Age and Gender differences 2
  • Design Adaptive interfaces Motivation for children•Age and Gender differences 3
  • Design Adaptive interfaces Motivation for children•Age and Gender differences 4
  • Design Adaptive interfaces Motivation for children•Age and Gender differences •Not just usable 5
  • Design Adaptive interfaces Motivation for children •Age and Gender differences •Not just usable•Developmentally appropriate 6
  • Overview2 studies195 children = 111 + 84Age 3 to 128 design factors 7
  • Setup 8
  • Setup 9
  • Setup 10
  • First studyExplore general difficulties + interaction differences 11
  • Gender differences Observed behaviour Girls BoysDistracted from painting activity Less MoreStruggled to come up with an idea to paint Less MoreTendency to create the painting from scratch More LessUsed pre-existing drawing components Less MoreInclined to seek help from adults More LessTime spent on study session Less MoreExplored features of the software Less MoreStyle of reading text on dialog boxes Thorough CasualSpeed of interaction with dialogs Slower Faster 12
  • Categorize by Age Group Ages Label1 3, 4, 5 Pre-literate2 6, 7 Semi-literate3 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Literate 13
  • Problems with Dialogs by Age groups Problems with Age group dialog box Pre-literate Semi-literate LiterateCausalityWhy did it appear all of a sudden?HindranceWhy is it stuck?AffordanceWhat is it doing here?CommunicationWhat is it saying?ConsequenceWhat should I do now?PatienceWhatever... 14
  • Design factorsTo fix problems with dialogs 15
  • Design factors1. Color coding 16
  • Design factors1. Color coding2. Highlighting 17
  • Design factors1. Color coding2. Highlighting3. Split structure 18
  • Design factors1. Color coding2. Highlighting3. Split structure4. Safer arbitrary choices • I don’t know 19
  • Design factors1. Color coding2. Highlighting3. Split structure4. Safer arbitrary choices • I don’t know • Delayed- click 20
  • Design factors1. Color coding2. Highlighting3. Split structure4. Safer arbitrary choices • I don’t know • Delayed- click5. Visibility of body text, title 21
  • Second studyGoal: Informally evaluate the designs 22
  • Color coding• Disruptive options clicked slower• Helped pre-literates• Negative interaction with age – Pre-literates + 30% – Semi-literates - 8% – Literates - 98% 23
  • Highlighting• Sped up clicking on safer option• Weaker cue• Weaker interaction with age – Pre-literates + 23% – Semi-literates + 28% – Literates - 36%• Girls unaffected, boys benefited 24
  • Split structure• Children indifferent• Older children faster – Boys faster, Girls slower – Spatial processing 25
  • Safer Arbitrary choices• “I don’t know” + Delayed-click = more clicks• Frequency increases over last revealed button• Children disliked waiting 26
  • Visibility of body text, title• Children indifferent to missing text• Text visible – Pre- and semi-literates slower – Literates faster 27
  • Summary of findings Design factor Age groups Gender Pre- Semi- Literates Boys Girls literates literatesSplit-structureVisibility of body text, titleColor coding buttonsHighlightingDelayed-click 28
  • Preliminary theoriesOn information consumption 29
  • Information channelsConsumption Textual channel Non-textual channelSpeed High LowAccuracy High LowReliability High Low 30
  • Model of info. consumption 31
  • Design implications Towards designing adaptiveinterfaces for children based on age, gender 32
  • Design implications - GenderGirls Boys• Primarily Textual info • Fast & easy consumption – Reading ability • Non-textual cues – Patience – Color coding – Thorough – Highlighting• Non-textual cues optional• Spatially coherent structures 33
  • Design implications - AgePre-literates Semi-literates• Primarily non-textual cues • Both text and non-textual – Biggest benefactors – Key words • Color coding Literates • Highlighting – Worst performance without • Text without cues• Minimal text – Process text well – Encourage learning – Poorly with non-textual – Parents – Stronger cues 34
  • Future work• Controlled study• Icon research• Touch screens 35
  • That is all folks!THANK YOU 36