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published: March 2004
analytic scripts updated:
November 7, 2010

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License

Having fun or finding information? Usability for kids' sections on museum websites.
Celine Arseneault, Montreal Botanical Garden, Canada

Session: Learning

Kids aged 6-12 use the Internet more and more as a resource for finding information for school projects. Teachers also include web content in their curriculum. Many museums' Web sites include a kids' section, either as a separate website (such as the J@rdin des jeunes branch?s at the Montreal Botanical Garden) or a corner dedicated to fun activities and interactive learning (such as the Canada Science and Technology Museum). In an educational environment, content-enriched Web sites should be designed to be user-centered taking into consideration this young audience. Situated cognition of kids applied to the Web reveals important aspects in the design and evaluation of educational Web sites. Concurrent review of available literature, analysis of ergonomic criteria applied to kids' Web sites and usability studies with children demonstrate the need for a better consensus on the way we develop and evaluate the user-interface of online products for children. An integrated and iterative model is proposed to bring a structured and analytical perspective on kids' Web sites that can be applied to museum Web sites.