Exploring the Relationship Between Implicit Scaffolding and Inclusive Design in Interactive Science Simulations

  • Emily B. MooreEmail author
  • Taliesin L. Smith
  • Emily Randall
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9739)


Interactive science simulations are commonly used educational tools. PhET Interactive Simulations are a popular suite of free science simulations used by teachers and students worldwide. These simulations are designed using implicit scaffolding, a design framework developed by the PhET project. Implicit scaffolding supports student learning without the use of instructions or other explicit guidance within the simulations. Recently, the PhET project has begun expanding the inclusive features in the simulations and aims to broaden implicit scaffolding beyond the visual. In this work, we present results from an analysis of user interviews exploring the relationship between auditory description design and implicit scaffolding. Findings indicate that our approaches to auditory descriptions can result in productive user interactions, similar to those found in prior work on implicit scaffolding with visual designs, demonstrating that implicit scaffolding approaches can include non-visual design.


Web accessibility Usability Inclusive design Non-visual user interface Text description Interactive science simulation 



We would like to thank Jesse Greenberg for his implementation support. This work was supported by the: National Science Foundation (DRL #1503439), William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the University of Colorado. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily B. Moore
    • 1
    Email author
  • Taliesin L. Smith
    • 2
  • Emily Randall
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.OCAD UniversityTorontoCanada

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