What about UX for kids?

Without doubt technologic integration becomes more and more part of our everyday lives. Throughout the past decades, with the expansion of internet technologies and the introduction of mobile devices, users of different ages get accustomed to continuously born services, product and interfaces. On many occasions, children are among the pioneers of adopting and testing new technologies.

A great factor behind the adoption and success of various products and services is User Experience. The attitude, interaction and overall connection with a brand are affected by products’ User Experience, while User Experience is equally impacted by those factors. Kids, being in the forefront of exploration and interaction with new technologies, can identify efficient and meaningful User Experience. During previous studies that we have conducted with early childhood students, we have identified that students will easily exit a presented educational game or app if they find it boring or difficult to use, switching to other UX richer ones.

Hence, why not involve and invite kids in designing UX?

In fact, there have been numerous studies around this area, examining kids’ participation in UX through a variety of perspectives (1–6). A movement stemming from the involvement of Scandinavian worker unions during the 60’s and the 70’s in the design of software and machinery that they would later use, participatory design aims at involving users in the design process.

When inviting kids into the UX design process, there are different approaches and configurations for their involvement, spanning from mere testers to active contributors with great impact to the final design outcome (7–9). A diverse set of tools that can be used and facilitate the collaboration between adult designers and kids (also referred to as cross-generational teams) has also been proposed through various studies (10–14).

So, the question isn’t whether or not we are going to invite and involve kids in UX design; this is already the case anyway. The question that is being raised is how and through what activities are we going to facilitate a User-Centered culture, creativity and problem solving culture that will help kids develop even more their design skills and, hence, their impact on experiences that they and their peers will use.


  1. 1.            Kalmpourtzis G, Vrysis L, Ketsiakidis G. The role of adults in giving and receiving feedback for game design sessions with students of the early childhood. Vol. 725, Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing. 2018.
  2. 2.            Kalmpourtzis G. Educational Game Design Fundamentals: A journey to creating intrinsically motivating learning experiences. New York: A K Peters/CRC Press; 2018. 306 p.
  3. 3.            Benton L, Johnson H, Ashwin E, Brosnan M, Grawemeyer B. Developing IDEAS: Supporting children with autism within a participatory design team. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. ACM; 2012. p. 2599–608.
  4. 4.            Resnick M, Maloney J, Monroy-Hernández A, Rusk N, Eastmond E, Brennan K, et al. Scratch: Programming for All. Communications of the ACM. 2009;52:60–7.
  5. 5.            Gennari R, Melonio A, Raccanello D, Brondino M, Dodero G, Pasini M, et al. Children’s emotions and quality of products in participatory game design. International Journal of Human Computer Studies. 2017;101(January):45–61.
  6. 6.            Malinverni L, Mora-Guiard J, Padillo V, Mairena M, Hervás A, Pares N. Participatory design strategies to enhance the creative contribution of children with special needs. In: Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Interaction design and children. ACM; 2014. p. 85–94.
  7. 7.            Kalmpourtzis G. Developing kindergarten students’ game design skills by teaching game design through organized game design interventions. Multimedia Tools and Applications. 2019;1–26.
  8. 8.            Druin A. The role of children in the design of new technology. Behaviour & Information Technology. 2002;21(1):1–25.
  9. 9.            Yip J, Druin A, Foss E, Bonsignore E, Guha ML, Norooz L, et al. Children initiating and leading cooperative inquiry sessions. Idc 2013. 2013;293–6.
  10. 10.          Kalmpourtzis G. Connecting game design with problem posing skills in early childhood. British Journal of Educational Technology. 2019;50(2):846–60.
  11. 11.          Yip J, Clegg T, Bonsignore E, Gelderblom H, Rhodes E, Druin A. Brownies or bags-of-stuff? Domain Expertise in Cooperative Inquiry with Children. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children – IDC ’13. 2013;201–10.
  12. 12.          Druin A, Bederson B, Boltman A, Miura A, Knotts-Callahan D, Platt M. Children as Our Technology Design Partners. The design of children’s technology. 1998;(Age 8):51–60.
  13. 13.          Brynskov M, Christensen BG, Ludvigsen M, Collins A, Grønbæk K. Designing for Nomadic Play : A case study of participatory design with children. :2–3.
  14. 14.          Hiniker A, Lee B. Co-Designing with Preschoolers Using Fictional Inquiry and Comicboarding. 2017;5767–72.