Blast from the Past: “Designing for Kids” Presentation

We were recently contacted by a researcher who stumbled upon a link on my company’s website to a paper entitled:

“Designing for Kids in the Digital Age: Summary of
research and recommendations for designers”

http://www.rockman.com/publications/presentations/Designing_for_Kids.pdf

Since the paper didn’t list a date, I had to do a little digging (in an actual filing cabinet) to uncover the requested information.

The paper was presented at the Interaction Design and Children Conference in 2002 in Eindhoven, (The Netherlands,  August 27th-30th). The findings stemmed from work we were doing at the time for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and their “Where fun and learning click!” initiative to create websites that would appeal to 8-12 year olds.

It was one of the best conferences that I’ve ever had the opportunity to attend – and there have been many great IDC conferences following that inaugural one so many years ago. The thing that made it so great (in my opinion) was the fact that there weren’t break-out sessions – every attendee heard the same presentations and, therefore, subsequent opportunities to discuss topics were far more fruitful.  As my first conference outside of the U.S. it was also an eye-opening experience and opportunity to learn more about all the great and interesting things happening in children’s interactive media all over the world. The importance of looking globally for examples, ideas, and design influences, has stuck with me to this day.

Since there were only a handful of spoken presentations, mine was actually a poster presentation – and I designed my “poster” to look like a castle.  I broke up all the major findings into stone blocks that could be arranged to form the castle. It also had a few princesses and knights peering out from windows that were interspersed throughout. In hindsight, perhaps not the most professional looking poster, but definitely one of the most playful (and therefore a good fit for a conference on designing interactive media for children).

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