Which devices do kids use – and for what?

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been doing ethnographic studies with kids to try to establish their digital habits and how we may use that knowledge to design more interfaces that takes their behavior and practice patterns into account.

As part of my research, I did a survey study with the parents of kids across Europe, the US and Canada. And while I realise that my sample size of 160 is not sufficient to establish a 100% valid foundation, I believe that it still serves as a starting point and a strong indicator of what a larger study would potentially reveal.

In the following, I will share some of the key insights from the survey for those who might find them useful.

Continue reading Which devices do kids use – and for what?

The importance of context in user experience design

This morning I was hit by a severe door slam. I was checking my twitter stream on my iPhone and saw this tweet from @morgenthaler (translated from Danish):

“I have given @alternativet my signature underskriv.alternativet.dk.
I think more people should do that”

I don’t know Jeppe in person, but from his tweets it’s clear that he is an idealistic person with high moral standards. So I wanted to see what he had supported.

A click on the link resulted in a pages that stated:

“We are sorry, but the digital petition doesn’t work on mobile and certain older browsers”

Door slam. And not a single explanation of what “Alternativet” is.

So I left. And I presume I won’t be the only user they refuse to let in.
Continue reading The importance of context in user experience design

What kids can learn from playing and making games in school

This post is a follow-up to the post “How do we mix social interaction and fun into learning games?”, where I concluded that most traditional learning games aren’t suited for social settings, and that kids are bored with them quickly.

I have since done observations on how these intended learning games work when they are played in groups – and sadly, these observations were as discouraging as the observations I did for the first post. Continue reading What kids can learn from playing and making games in school

How do we mix social interaction and fun into learning games?

For the past 6 months I’ve been taking a Master’s class in computer games, and as part of that, I’ve been writing a range of papers on various topics. All of them circle around kids and games, because I find it interesting (I believe in working with what is close to your heart).

Recently I’ve been looking into learning games for kids, and it has struck me how boring most of them (well, all of them, truthfully!) are. Continue reading How do we mix social interaction and fun into learning games?

Teach with a passion

This blog post has been underway for quite some time. It started last year when I was asked to do a talk about presentation skills at the annual conference in our teacher’s association.

As I sat down to prepare my talk, the first thing I did was put myself in the position of my audience (= teachers in the multimedia design field, like myself) – because that’s what you should always do when preparing a presentation Continue reading Teach with a passion

We need to rethink affordances in interface design

Yesterday David Arno tweeted this:
“Use proper affordances — buttons should look like buttons” Why? How often do ppl press physical buttons compared with hitting touch areas? (source).

David hits the nail on the head. A touch area should look like a touch area – the button term in the “tactile transferred to touchscreen” is redundant. It’s redundant because the tactile button itself is pretty much extinct. Sure, there are physical buttons on kitchen devices etc., but many, many buttons today are placed on a digital interface.

Continue reading We need to rethink affordances in interface design