Analysing Interaction in Children’s Digital Books

By Nicholas Vanderschantz and Claire Timpany.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Pedagogical practices in formal educational settings, together with the nature of communication technologies in a variety of digital media, mean that children will encounter screen-based learning opportunities in both formal educational settings and during their daily recreational pursuits. This research looks to address the lack of research informing best practices for the visual and interaction design of this material for children in a screen-based environment.
This investigation provides a survey of interaction methods in on-screen reading material available to children in primary-school, middle-school and public libraries in New Zealand. From the data collected, a database chronicling variables relating to interaction in current digital books for children was created. Specifically, this database houses variables including navigation, orientation functions and in-line linking such as hypertext, as well as other factors that can impact a child’s digital book use. Through analysis of the database this research provides insight into current trends in interaction techniques found in material designed for children’s on-screen reading and provides recommendations for improvements that may be made to assist in the design of children’s digital books.

Keywords: Digital Books, Interaction, Navigation, Orientation, eBooks, Children’s Interactivity, Children’s Books

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp.31-48. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 969.945KB).

Nicholas Vanderschantz

Lecturer, Computer Graphic Design, Department of Computer Science, School of Computing and Mathetacial Sciences, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Nicholas’ area of research focus has been in childrens’ on-screen reading. These investigations have specifically looked into how typographic spacing could best affect childrens’ eye movements during reading. This area of exploration saw him graduate with a Masters in Computer Graphic Design from Whanganui School of Design, New Zealand in 2007. Nicholas is a lecturer in Computer Graphic design at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. As a central part of his teaching and research at the University of Waikato Nicholas pursues his interests in typography for children as well as socially responsible graphic design and graphic design education.

Claire Timpany

Lecturer, Computer Graphic Design, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Science, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Claire completed her Masters in Computer Graphic Design at Wanganui School of Design, New Zealand. She is currently a lecturer in Computer Graphic Design at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, teaching both print and screen based papers. Claire’s main areas of interest and research are typography, print design and physical interaction design. Because of her love for both printed books and interactivity this is where her research interests lie. Her research is currently focussed on the way in which people interact with printed material and how the benefits of electronic media can be applied to traditional media, such as print, to aid it in developing and become more beneficial and keeping up with the digital age.


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