Tom Chi  

CHI Kids

September 3rd, 2004 by Tom Chi :: see related comic

When your kid scribbles on the wall, you figure: ‘hey — a future artist’. But what should you think when your kid creates intricate attribute-based taxonomies for several imaginary friend personas? Hm. Well, this week at OK/Cancel we have a guest essay by Carolyn Snyder where she describes her own childhood has helped form the foundation of her work in usability.

For those of you who don’t know Carolyn, she is the author of Paper Prototyping — highly recommended.

2 Responses to “CHI Kids”
David Heller wrote:

Hi Tom, I found this to be really fun. Marc Rettig just posted something to the IxDG Discussion List that is very relevant. I’m quoting it here for people to look at:

Some of you will enjoy knowing about the Hole In the Wall project:

The nub of the gist (from
The concept is so simple that it stands on it’s own.

Put a computer where kids can use it. Leave them alone. That’s it.

When you think about it, children learn best out of curiosity. If you make a child do something on a computer, it’s work. When they get to do it on their own - it’s play. And we humans learn a lot from play.

What’s amazing, though, is that someone thought of this - someone did it, at a bunch of sites in India - and it’s been working: they’ve been documenting it on the site. Extremely worthwhile to parents and educators.

I edited out Marc’s more personal comments … He can comment here if he wants to. — dave

Tom Chi wrote:

Ah. Definitely cool. I actually heard about this a couple years ago, but lost track of it — glad to hear it has worked out so well.

A great thing about children is that if they grow up with this technology around them, it just seems to be a standard part of life. It’s ‘no big deal’ to thumb out long messages on a cell phone, or copy files to a server, because well that’s just how the world they grew up in was set up.

So when 2040 rolls around and people are sending brain-IMs to each other using internet telepathy, I’ll be dumbfounded while my grandkids will already be bored of it.

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OK/Cancel is a comic strip collaboration co-written and co-illustrated by Kevin Cheng and Tom Chi. Our subject matter focuses on interfaces, good and bad and the people behind the industry of building interfaces - usability specialists, interaction designers, human-computer interaction (HCI) experts, industrial designers, etc. (Who Links Here) ?