[Sugar-devel] gsoc Ideas: interface for younger children

Mohan Raj R mohanraj.cit at gmail.com
Tue Apr 6 12:34:36 EDT 2010


I am Mohan, a Computer Science Masters student in UBC, Canada interested in
GSoC. My area of study is Human Computer Interaction. My thesis is in the
area of learnability issues (in content creation software). I believe that
developing better interfaces to bring out the creativity of children is of
paramount importance. I would like to hence work on the Sugar UI for the
next 1.5 years, making it an integral part of my thesis (hoping everything
goes well. fingers crossed). I would like to start my work with GSoC.

I went through the project ideas and several of them interested me. I need
some clarifications on few ideas. I appreciate any help in this.


> EduKT

Simple content - history creation tool that needs:

Simplify the interface for little people

Is it talking about age or the physical attributes of the children? I assume
it is age. If so, what range is being talked about? What age range qualifies
as little? Do we have data about  the age ranges of current users of
OLPC/Sugar? According to the website, the system is targeted at "children
from 5 to 12 years of age". But what is the split up in the real world. Any

*Questions that I am interested in finding an answer:*
Do children belonging to different age groups need different UI?
Can we design UI targeted at different age groups of children such that it
improves their experience (usability) with the system?
Can such UI designed specifically for different age groups
also facilitate learnability of the UI (the system features that it
abstracts) as they move from one age group to another? (culminating in a
desktop, for e.g from ubuntu-sugar-remix to ubuntu)

*What we need to do:*
We would need to build a UI abstraction layer that would enable users of
different age groups to experience the system differently. This should
be achieved requiring minimal change on part of the developers,
especially activity devs.

*What I could do:*
A UI abstraction framework is too much work: for something that we aren't
even sure we need. And I couldn't do it myself in 3 months. So I could start
paving way for what could eventually grow into a framework, but still manage
to do something useful for the community in these 3 months.

Lets take the feature of discoverability of keyboard shortcuts and context
menus. I could start work on bringing this feature into Sugar. But do
younger children need keyboard shortcuts ? Can the clues for enhancing
discoverability of such features lead to confusion for those who dont need
it ? So depending upon the age of the child using the system (obtained from
user profile), the system could choose to expose certain clues or not. I
think this can be done in 3 months.

Please have a look at my project page (rough first cut) and kindly share
your thoughts, ideas.

Please let me know if you interested in mentoring me or working with
(advising) me on this?

Thank you for your time,
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