Purpose – It has become common for children to browse web pages. However, there is no web browser that takes into account children's characteristics on information acquisition. Therefore, even though such general pages have a variety and detailed information, children cannot effectively use the internet with current web browsers, e.g. they have difficulty in understanding the contents and easily get bored when browsing general pages. The purpose of this paper is to propose a children‐oriented web browser, which aims to keep children's interest on pages and help them understand the contents of the pages. Design/methodology/approach – The paper designed and implemented a web browser for children using a bubble metaphor, which converts general pages into a children‐friendly presentation. The browser is displayed in an undersea scene and presents contents of a web page in bubbles of different sizes, speeds, and colors. Furthermore, it presents the details of the content in a picture book style in a way that children can easily understand. Findings – The paper conducts a user experiment with 13 children between four and ten years of age. The experimental results show that the browser changes general pages into a children‐friendly presentation and make a web browsing fun for children. Originality/value – To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first investigation into the web browsing characteristics of children. The findings may be useful to researchers who are interested in the relationships between children and the web, as well as information acquisition of children.
International Journal of Web Information Systems – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 6, 2010
Keywords: Worldwide web; Children (age groups); User interfaces