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Testing Children’s Information Retrieval Systems: Challenges in a New Era

Jamshid Beheshti, Dania Bilal, Allison Druin and Andrew Large

(Submission #222)


The purpose of this Panel is to discuss and elaborate on testing and evaluation challenges facing the designers of new and novel information systems for children. The panelists will draw on their extensive experience to discuss the following issues:

- Andrew Large: Experimental versus operational testing of a children’s portal. He contends that in designing and developing a children’s retrieval system both experimental and operational testing pose challenges to researchers, but that each offers a unique insight into children’s reactions to information technologies.

- Dania Bilal: Testing and evaluating children’s information retrieval systems using holistic framework. She argues that working with children on research is not only rewarding, but also “unique” and requires “specific” abilities and skills on the part of the researcher, and well as use of “appropriate,” and “innovative” research methodologies to reap significant results and benefits. She challenges system designers and will comment on their insufficient efforts in addressing children’s behavior, cognition, and affect in the design of interfaces.

- Allison Druin: Testing the children’s information retrieval system on mobile devices. She maintains that both quantitative and qualitative methodologies are needed to test new systems, such as the ICDL, in various environments. She argues that children, regardless of their diverse cultural backgrounds and their context, use visual tools to search and browse for information, and that systems should be age-sensitive.

- Jamshid Beheshti: Testing a virtual reality children’s information retrieval system. He claims that when constructing a novel system, such as a virtual reality library, children’s participation at the design stage is far more limited than when developing more conventional systems. Testing such a system is equally unconventional. The system should be evaluated by how much information it can transfer to the child regardless of the immediate utility of that information.


Program Track:  Track 3 - Information Systems, Interactivity and Design
Submission Type:  Panel Proposal


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