Panos's Home Page  Research  Publications  Teaching  Student Projects

Interaction Design and Children

Industrial Design Masters Programme, Module DBB03

by P.Markopoulos & T.Bekker

December 2008

This is an elective module for blocks M1.1., M1.2, M.2.1. of the Master's programme in Industrial Design.

For exchange students, please not that prerequisite is some background / experience in Interaction Design and Human Computer Interaction.

A significant number of design projects in this department concern children as users and often involve them as participants or testers in the design process. The topic is of growing importance also for the industry reflecting the increasing importance of the related market. As a research area Interaction Design and Children (IDC) is relatively new combining inputs from the areas of developmental and educational psychology, human computer interaction and product design. This module aims to impart an awareness of theories and methods that pertain to designing for children so that students can be better informed and more deliberate when engaging in related design projects.

Target Competency Area(s), Learning Objectives and Level(s): Participants will develop their user focus competency. More specifically they should become aware of the different schools of thought in developmental psychology and how to apply elements from these to the design of products for children. Students will become able to plan and carry out design activities involving children in the development of new concepts or the evaluation of existing products. The purpose here is to develop awareness and to make the choice between methods deliberate, while linking to hands on knowledge acquired through projects. Students will also become familiar with a range of design works that have been innovative in this domain, either for the design process they adopted or for the nature of the products developed.


-          Proceedings of the annual IDC conference are available on the ACM Digital Library. They include a variety of papers relating to design concepts, methodologies, theoretical approaches. (see

-          Textbook by P.Markopoulos, J.Read, S.MacFarlane and J.Hoysniemi, on Evaluation Childrenís Products: Principles and Practices for Interaction Designers, Morgan Kaufman, 2008. (see



Lecture / Presentations


Mon Dec 8, 9:45- 11:30

HG 4.24

Introduction/Overview of module (Tilde)

Child Personas

Child Development Theories


Tue 9 /12 15:30-16:30

HG 4.95

Debriefing child personas (Tilde)  

Wed 10/12, 9:45-10: 45

HG 2.84

Early design techniques with children (Wouter)


Focus Group assignment

Thu 11/12 11:00-12:00

HG 2.54

Ethics of working with children and intro to evaluation of products with children (Panos)


Test plan and Walkthrough Assignment

Fri 12/12, 10:00-12:00

HG 2.84

Final presentations (Panos, Tilde, Wouter)


Lecturer Information

Panos Markopoulos and Tilde Bekker are members of staff in the User Centred Engineering Group of the Dept. of Industrial Design. They are very active in the They co-chaired the first event of the IDC conference series, and acted as program chairs in IDCí06 and IDCí07 respectively, and have multiple research publications on the topic.

You can find more information at:

R.J.W. (Wouter) Sluis -Thiescheffer is a doctoral candidate in the User Centered Engineering Group of the Dpt. of Industrial Design. His work concerns early design methods for children.