Children's Roles Using Keyword Search Interfaces in the Home


Children want to find information about their world, but there are barriers to finding what they seek. Young people have varying abilities to formulate multi-step queries and comprehend search results. Challenges in understanding where to type, confusion about what tools are available, and frustration with how to parse the results page all have led to a lack of perceived search success for children 7-11 years old. In this paper, we describe seven search roles children display as information seekers using Internet keyword interfaces, based on a home study of 83 children ages 7, 9, and 11. These roles are defined not only by the children’s search actions, but also by who influences their searching, their perceived success, and trends in age and gender. These roles suggest a need for new interfaces that expand the notion of keywords, scaffold results, and develop a search culture among children.