The effects of interface design and age on children's information processing of Web sites

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Abstract

Children increasingly utilize the Internet as a primary medium, a source of consumer information, and an important source of entertainment. This article investigates the influence of Web site design on children's information processing performance. A model is advanced that integrates theories from a variety of disciplines, including developmental psychology, human computer interaction (HCI), and consumer behavior. This study found that age moderates the relationship between Web site design and spatial (search) and learning (recall) performance. Younger children, between the ages of 7 and 9, recalled more content when using a map (as compared to a content list) and when learning cues were employed. Older children, between the ages of 10 and 12, performed equally as well with either a map or a content list, and with or without learning cues. Implications for business, education, and public policy are discussed and guidelines are provided for designing more child-friendly Web sites. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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