Considerations and Methods for Usability Testing with Children

  • Malene Hjortboe Andersen
  • Md. Saifuddin Khalid
  • Eva Irene Brooks
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST, volume 196)


In this paper, the authors draw on methods used in the field of interaction design, emphasizing a user-centred design approach including methods such as usability testing, design metaphors, interview with users, video observations, focus groups, and think aloud sessions. However, a challenge of these methods is that they are designed for adults and are not necessarily appropriate to investigations including children. The guiding questions for this systematic literature review are (1) the motivation for conducting usability tests with children, and (2) the kind of methodological, practical, and ethical considerations that should be considered when involving children in usability studies. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) checklist and PRISMA flow diagram are applied in order to assure the quality of the process of this investigation. Nine articles are analyzed and then synthesized by applying the constant comparative method. The synthesis of the literature review is based on the identified thematic priorities, which are categorized as follows: (1) the motivation for involving children as test persons in design processes, (2) definitions of usability, (3) practical considerations, (4) methodological considerations, and (5) ethical considerations.


Child-computer interaction Usability testing Usability evaluation Usability testing methods 


  1. 1.
    Zimmerman, J., Forlizzi, J., Evenson, S.: Research through design as a method for interaction design research in HCI. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 493–502. ACM, New York (2007)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sharp, H., Rogers, Y., Preece, J.: Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction. Wiley, Chichester (2007)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fails, J.A., Guha, M.L., Druin, A.: Methods and techniques for involving children in the design of new technology for children. Found. Trends® Hum. Comput. Interact. 6(2), 85–166 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Read, J.C., Markopoulos, P.: Child–computer interaction. Int. J. Child-Comput. Interact. 1(1), 2–6 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Druin, A.: The role of children in the design of new technology. Behav. Inf. Technol. 21(1), 1–25 (2002)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Read, J.C., Markopoulos, P.: Understanding children’s interactions: evaluating children’s interactive products. Interactions 15(6), 26–29 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Markopoulos, P., Bekker, M.: On the assessment of usability testing methods for children. Interact. Comput. 15(2), 227–243 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Druin, A.: Cooperative inquiry: developing new technologies for children with children. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 592–599. ACM, New York (1999)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Marco, J., Cerezo, E., Baldassarri, S., Mazzone, E., Read, J.C.: Bringing tabletop technologies to kindergarten children. In: Proceedings of the 23rd British HCI Group Annual Conference on People and Computers: Celebrating People and Technology, pp. 103–111. British Computer Society, Swinton (2009)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Veale, A.: Creative methodologies in participatory research with children. In: Greene, S., Hogan, D. (eds.) Researching Children’s Experience: Approaches and Methods, pp. 253–272. SAGE, London (2005)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Moher, D., Liberati, A., Tetzlaff, J., Altman, D.G.: Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. Ann. Intern. Med. 151(4), 264–269 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Glaser, B.G.: The constant comparative method of qualitative analysis. Soc. Probl. 12, 436–445 (1965)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rounding, K., Tee, K., Wu, X., Guo, C., Tse, E.: Evaluating interfaces with children. Pers. Ubiquit. Comput. 17(8), 1663–1666 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Khanum, M.A., Trivedi, M.C.: Exploring verbalization and collaboration during usability evaluation with children in context. IJCSI Int. J. Comput. Sci. Issues 10, 485–491 (2013)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Als, B.S., Jensen, J.J., Skov, M.B.: Comparison of think-aloud and constructive interaction in usability testing with children. In: Proceedings of the 2005 Conference on Interaction Design and Children, pp. 9–16. ACM, New York (2005)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Tasos, S.: Integrating Usability Engineering for Designing the Web Experience: Methodologies and Principles: Methodologies and Principles. IGI Global, Hershey (2010)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Read, J.: Children as participants in design and evaluation. Interactions 22(2), 64–66 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hanna, L., Risden, K., Alexander, K.: Guidelines for usability testing with children. Interactions 4, 9–14 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Markopoulos, P., Read, J.C., MacFarlane, S., Hoysniemi, J.: Evaluating Children’s Interactive Products: Principles and Practices for Interaction Designers. Morgan Kaufmann, San Franscisco (2008)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Read, J.C., Fitton, D., Horton, M.: Giving ideas an equal chance: inclusion and representation in participatory design with children. In: Proceedings of the 2014 Conference on Interaction Design and Children, pp. 105–114. ACM, New York (2014)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Read, J.C., Horton, M., Sim, G., Gregory, P., Fitton, D., Cassidy, B.: CHECk: a tool to inform and encourage ethical practice in participatory design with children. In: CHI 2013 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 187–192. ACM, New York (2013)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Iversen, O.S., Smith, R.C.: Scandinavian participatory design: dialogic curation with teenagers. In: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, pp. 106–115. ACM, New York (2012)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Borum, N., Brooks, E.P., Brooks, A.L.: Designing with young children: lessons learned from a co-creation of a technology-enhanced playful learning environment. In: Marcus, A. (ed.) DUXU 2015. LNCS, vol. 9188, pp. 142–152. Springer, Heidelberg (2015). doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-20889-3_14 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Fails, J.A., Druin, A., Bederson, B.B., Weeks, A., Rose, A.: A child’s mobile digital library: collaboration, community, and change. In: Druin, A. (ed.) Mobile Technology for Children: Designing for Interaction and Learning. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Burlington (2009)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Guha, M. L., Druin, A., Chipman, G., Fails, J. A., Simms, S., Farber, A.: Mixing ideas: a new technique for working with children as design partners. In: Proceedings of Interaction Design and Children 2004: Building a Community, pp. 35–42 (2004)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ICST Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malene Hjortboe Andersen
    • 1
  • Md. Saifuddin Khalid
    • 1
  • Eva Irene Brooks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department and Learning and Philosophy, Faculty of HumanitiesAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark

Personalised recommendations