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Interaction Design and Children

Industrial Design Masters Programme, Module DB310

P.Markopoulos & M.M.Bekker

October 2010

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.



Lecture / Presentations


Mon Oct 4, 10:00- 11:00

HG 4.57

Introduction/Overview of module, Persona Cards (Tilde)



Tue Oct 5 9:30-12:30

HG 4.01

Presentations Card Assignment

Guest Lecture byWouter Sluis Thiesheffer: early design techniques for designing with children

 Reading assignment

Wed Oct 6, 9:30-12:00, HG4.24

13:00-15:00 HG.2.30

Presentations IDC classic paper

Iris Soute: Designing Outdoor Games for Children


Thu Oct 7, 9:30-12:30


Evaluation of Children's Products (Panos)

Test plan and Walkthrough Assignment

Fri 1Oct 8, 14:00-15:30


Final presentations (Panos)


Papers for the Reading Assignment

  1. Resnick, M., Technologies for lifelong kindergarten JF - Educational Technology Research and Development. Springer, Download PDF (1.6 MB)
  2. Zuckerman, O., Arida, S., and Resnick, M. (2005). Extending tangible interfaces for education: digital montessori-inspired manipulatives. In Proceedings CHI '05. ACM, New York, NY, 859-868. DOI=
  3. Ryokai, K., Marti, S., and Ishii, H. 2004. I/O brush: drawing with everyday objects as ink. In Proceedings CHI '04. ACM, New York, NY, 303-310. DOI=
  4. Montemayor, J., Druin, A., Farber, A., Simms, S., Churaman, W., and D'Amour, A. (2002_. Physical programming: designing tools for children to create physical interactive environments. In Proceedings CHI '02. ACM, New York, NY, 299-306. DOI=
  5. Parkes, A., Raffle, H., and Ishii, H. 2008. Topobo in the wild: longitudinal evaluations of educators appropriating a tangible interface. In Proceeding CHI '08. ACM, New York, NY, 1129-1138. DOI= 
  6. Price, S., Rogers, Y., (2004) Let's get physical: The learning benefits of interacting in digitally augmented physical spaces, Computers & Education, Volume 43, Issues 1-2, 137-151, ISSN 0360-1315, DOI: 10.1016/j.
  7. Pane,J., Myers, B. (2006) More Natural Programming Languages and Environments. In Lieberman, H., PaternÚ, F, Wulf, V, (Eds) End User Development, Springer Netherlands, 31-50,

Lecturer Information

Panos Markopoulos and Tilde Bekker are members of staff in the User Centred Engineering Group of the Dept. of Industrial Design. They both have a keen interest on interaction design for children looking at design, theory and methodology. 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.

Iris Soute is a doctoral candidate in the UCE group at ID. Her work concerns Head-Up Games, a kind of outdoor pervasive games for children.

Old runs of this course