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Young children use tablets in ways they do not use mobile phones and computers. Tablets reside in the living room, leaving kids almost no barriers to interact with technology and the internet. Case reports show children moving into the powerful roles of consumer and designer, and we need to accommodate them in playing those roles.
As consumers, tablets easily engage young children because of the previously mentioned social space in which tablets are used. The increased real estate better suits kids’ motor skills, and tablets’ presence in social, family contexts make them effective gateways for children. An increasing number of apps is made for children, but the app world has far to come in its child-centric offering. For example the current qualification of apps is sub-optimal at best (Apple App Store) or non-existent at worst (Android Market).
In addition, children can become professional app designers. Bubble Ball, by 14 year old Robert Nay, is a great example of a child-developed app that competes with corporate-developed ones. Instead of competing against children as designers, we need to collaborate with them, listen to them, and ultimately support them in their development ventures. How strange this may sound, the successful cases involve children as decision makers to successfully leverage their creativity.
This presentation provides app designers some guidelines for working with children and helping them write the next chapter in the history of computing.
18th–20th April 2012