Search Engine for Children: User-Centered Design
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ISSN der Zeitschrift
Datenbank-Spektrum: Vol. 17, No. 1
Children are a fast growing user group on the Internet. Among different online activities, children use web search engines in order to gather information related to their personal interests and school activities. Children’s knowledge, cognitive abilities and fine motor skills are different from those of adults. Therefore, they may experience difficulties with search engines that are built using standard information retrieval algorithms and search interfaces for adults. Special or targeted search engines for children are essential in order to better support children in their search tasks. However, the design of search solutions for children is not an easy task. Not only are children’s abilities different from the abilities of adults, children also undergo relatively fast changes in their abilities. In order to tackle this challenge, an age-adaptable information terminal for children with a special focus on the search user interface (SUI) has been developed in three stages following a user-centered design. Specifically, it addresses the changing characteristics of the users by providing a means of adaptation. Several user studies have been conducted with children during the development to ensure the usability of the information terminal.