Exploring Evaluation Techniques for Children’s Websites

Colleen Kaiser (Melio Lab, USA) and Ginger Butcher (Sigma Space Corporation, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 25
EISBN13: 9781466648050|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4046-7.ch001
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Children are an important target group on the web and assessing their user experience presents a unique challenge. Special consideration when conducting sessions with children includes: their difficulty articulating their thoughts, getting shy children to open up, keeping their attention focused on the test activities, understanding their non-verbal cues, and providing enough encouragement without “leading” the participant. Additionally, children have a broad range of cognitive skills, reading skills, and vocabulary comprehension, which makes it difficult to ascertain whether they understand the given task and difficult to ensure their responses are valid. Usability tests for children not only need to be designed to effectively solicit subjective preferences and objective content comprehension, but also to assess how well they are able to use the site. Verifying their understanding of the task activities (to ensure the efficacy of their response) is critical for the validity of the data. This study reports on a two-phased testing approach and the lessons learned in redesigning an agency’s web portal for science content targeting 5-12 year olds.
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