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HCIL-2002-24

Hourcade, J. (November 2002)
It's Too Small! Implications of Children's Developing Motor Skills on Graphical User Interfaces
HCIL-2002-24, CS-TR-4425, UMIACS-TR-2002-104

Research has shown children's information processing speed increases with age [19] [37]. This speed has a direct impact on motor skill, as the human motor system depends on processed feedback from the perceptual system [4]. Children use their motor skills when performing Fitts' law tasks, including the operation of input devices [4]. Several experiments by psychologists and human factors researchers have confirmed that young children perform at levels below older children and adults when executing Fitts' law tasks. In spite of this evidence, human-computer interaction researchers have seldom reported using this information to influence the design of children's user interfaces. This paper surveys the relevant literature from human development, psychology and human-computer interaction, and examines its implications on the design of children's graphical user interfaces, in particular young children's need of larger visual targets. Keywords Children, human information processing, human development, Fitts' law, Kail's model, point-and-click, graphical user interfaces.


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