Elementary-age children are among the largest user groups of computers and the Internet, so it is important to design searching and browsing tools that support them. However, many interfaces for children do not consider their skills and preferences. Children are capable of doing Boolean searches, but have difficulty with the sequential presentation of hierarchical structures used in many category browsers. Based on previous research, we believed a simultaneous presentation of a flat category structure might better support children. We conducted two studies of searching and browsing with these two types of category browsers. Our results suggest that a flat, simultaneous interface provides advantages for both Boolean searching and casual browsing. These results add to the understanding of children?s searching and browsing skills and preferences and suggest guidelines for other interface designers.
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