Though very young children are avid technology users, many apps and games for kids draw on interaction patterns, instructions, or UI elements that were originally developed for adult users. One component of my research is taking what we know about child development and considering what that might tell about the interfaces children are likely to understand. By creating original apps and games and carefully manipulating their interface elements, I am able to conduct experimental studies to shed light on what children are likely to find accessible and usable. I am fortunate to collaborate with Kiley Sobel, Julie Kientz, Dimitri Christakis and others in these investigations.
Technology Use in Families
Technology plays a prominent role in the lives of children and families. This comes with opportunities users value and costs they find frustrating, and a portion of my research explores how we can design technologies that fit families' values and needs. This work involves both understanding families' current practices and designing new systems to support them. I have been lucky to work with Hyewon Suh, Sarita Schoenebeck, Julie Kientz and others in this space.
Intentional Technology Use and Non-Use
Many individuals report that they sometimes wish they used technology less or in different ways, but struggle to change their habits. A third component of my work is understanding this dissatisfaction and the design choices that predict it. What choices are we making as designers that exploit users and coerce them into engaging with technology when they might not otherwise do so? What choices can we make that are respectful of users' time and attention? This work involves both exploring users' experiences in this context and designing interventions to support intentional uses of technology. I regularly collaborate with Ray Hong, Yoshi Kohno, Bongshin Lee, and Julie Kientz on projects in this space.
Technology and Child Development
I also research children's development and the role that technology can play in supporting or hindering growth, learning, and well-being. This includes designing experiences to help parents track and understand their child's development, and designing experiences and technologies that children with atypical patterns of development enjoy.