Issues of Access and Usability in Designing Digital Resources for Children

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Library & Information Science Research

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digital resources, interdisciplinary, intergenerational, child-user centered, children


Library and Information Science


The way children's cognitive states affect how they function in digital interfaces is examined through articles published between 1989 and 2010. Children have developmental limitations, such as underdeveloped motor skills, difficulties with spelling, and trouble understanding hierarchies, classification schemes, and metadata, that make it difficult for them to find information, and challenging for adult designers to accommodate their needs. From icons to metadata to hierarchies, the best research in designing digital resources for children, (OPACs such as Pejtersen's Book House, online public libraries such as the Internet Public Library, and online collections of books such as the International Children's Digital Library), places the child user at the center, and takes an interdisciplinary and intergenerational approach. The literature indicates that research in designing for children is valuable, not only because it seeks to improve children's experience with digital resources, but also because such research translates to other marginalized users and special needs populations.

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