A Child-Centric Interface: Graffiti or Not Graffiti

By Kevin Brunner.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Research was conducted with 91 children between 9 and 11 years of age. The children learned and tested the interfaces with three games.

Two paradigms were reviewed: one pen-based interface and two keyboard-based interfaces. The pen-based interface was Graffiti and requires additional time to learn, its strokes are difficult to repeat, and it misinterprets characters. One soft keyboard was patterned after the QWERTY keyboard. The other soft keyboard was a researcher-developed alternative that utilized a child-friendly alphabetic order of keys.

The results indicate that the QWERTY keyboard was faster than both the ABC keyboard and the Graffiti interface. The ABC keyboard was more accurate than both the QWERTY keyboard and the Graffiti interface. The confusion matrix for Graffiti showed the children had significant trouble duplicating the strokes required to enter a letter and many times entered something that was interpreted as a symbol and not the intended letter. The children preferred the QWERTY interface over the ABC and Graffiti interfaces.

Both the quantitative and qualitative results of the study indicate the children prefer using the QWERTY interface. However, there is some evidence that the ABC interface is a valuable design to pursue for children in the concrete developmental stage.

Keywords: Children, Graffiti, Interface, Qwerty, Keyboard, Soft Keyboard

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.313-332. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 12.765MB).

Dr. Kevin Brunner

Associate Professor of Information Technology, Science and Technology Division, Graceland University, Lamoni, IA, USA

Teaching professor at a small university in southern Iowa. Research focus is on connecting children with the right technology to perform activities with small device interfaces. Devices continue to decrease in size and children adapt quickly to interfaces. The research presented is from completed dissertation with children. Worked as software development professional for 12 years and then began teaching career. Taught information technology classes for 11 years. Chair for Computer Science and Information Technology department. Active member of ACM, IEEE, and AITP. Enjoy connecting students with knowledge that will help them succeed in business. Other interests include supporting wife and family of three children (who were the inspiration behind the research), golf, and coaches the golf team.

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