Hutchinson, H., Druin, A., Bederson, B., Reuter, K., Rose, A., Weeks, A. (August 2005)
Children are among the fastest growing groups of users of the Internet, so it is important to design searching and browsing interfaces, such as those found in digital libraries, to support them. However, many interfaces geared toward elementary-age children suffer from at least one of two common problems. First, many assume that young users can spell, type, read, navigate, compose queries, and/or select small objects. Second, many assume that children search for books using the same criteria as adults. In fact, children have difficulty using and understanding traditional interface tools, and often employ different searching and browsing strategies from adults. A number of researchers have created digital libraries that better support young children. Our lab has also focused on this goal, most recently with the International Children?s Digital Library (ICDL) project. This paper elaborates on the reasons why children require different searching and browsing tools and how interfaces that fail to recognize this lead to frustrating experiences. It describes how the ICDL addresses these issues and a study designed to investigate them further.