April 15-18, 2009
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Sessions: Abstract

Doing it for the kids: Tate Online on engaging, entertaining and (stealthily) educating six to 12 year olds   go to paper

Sharna Jackson, Tate, United Kingdom
Rob Adamson, Tate, United Kingdom

Children between the ages of six and 12 are not a homogenous mass. Both ends of the age range have differing needs, abilities and expectations. When designing a Web site for them, it is crucial to appeal not only to all of them, but also to their 'gatekeepers' – their parents and teachers, who tend to manage their time online. Taking the new Tate Kids Web site as a case study ( , this paper will outline a process of designing a Web site that attempts to meet the needs of the three audiences, while embodying the Tate Kids ethos: smart, fun, irreverent, anarchic content with educational value. It will outline the graphic design process, the strategy for user testing, the importance of differentiating content, and the purpose of an adult zone. It will discuss our efforts to alleviate online safety fears and the use of teachers' notes to support the use of the Web site in the classroom.

A unique aspect of Tate Kids is My Gallery, a carefully managed online community. Here users create profiles, upload their own art, take work from the Tate Kids Collection (a subset of around 500 works from the online collection) and save work they have created in two new games: Tate Paint and Street Art. This paper will discuss how this functionality was created, and how its audiences are receiving it. This paper will also discuss how Tate Kids will be developed in the future and will also look at the possibility of working in partnership with external companies to share audiences.

Session: Young Audiences and Creators [Technology]

Keywords: Tate, children, community, art, user-generated content, Web 2.0