Iconic Interfaces For Kids On The Internet

Lorna Uden

School of Computing
Staffordshire University
The Octagon, Beaconside
Stafford, ST18 0AT, UK

Alan Dix

aQtive limited and Lancaster University
Birmingham Research Park
Vincent Drive
Birmingham, B15 2SQ, UK


Paper presented at IFIP World Computer Congress, Beijing, China, August 21-25, 2000

View full paper (PDF,77K).

Full reference:

L.Uden and A. Dix (2000). Iconic Interfaces For Kids On The Internet. IFIP World Computer Congress, Beijing, pp. 279-286

URL for related work: http://www.hcibook.com/alan/topics/widget/


Use of the Internet, in particular searching the Internet, is becoming an essential part of school education at all levels. In particular, in the UK it is part of the National Curriculum, which must be taught to all children at state schools. However, for the youngest children text-based searches are difficult or impossible to use as the children are only starting to read and write fluently. For such children visual and iconic interfaces are essential. However, the metaphors and icons that are appropriate for adults are not necessarily easy for children to recognise and understand. This paper describes some of the issues that arose during the design of an iconic search tool aimed at children aged 56.

keywords: primary education, Internet, search tools, iconic interface, metaphor

Alan Dix 10/3/2001