Archive / INF Seminars / INF_2024_02_19_Jerry_Alan_Fails
USI - Email

Designing Search with and for Children: a Child Adaptive Search Tool (CAST)


Host: Prof. Monica Landoni




USI Campus Est, room D1.13, sector D
10:30 - 11:30

Jerry Alan Fails
Boise State University, Idaho, United States

Dr. Fails will share his approach to designing technologies for children and a few examples of how this has been applied collaboratively to address children's particular needs within the context of children’s spell checking and online search. The internet contains a vast expanse of resources intended for users of all kinds. The most common way people find information online is through a search engine. While these search engines are a good general portal to information, they are usually designed for “typical” or most common early adopter technology users: young adults. Collaborating with children (ages 6-11), the Child Adaptive Search Tool (CAST) team has designed, developed, and evaluated technologies to help children find resources in ways that match their particular needs and result in resources that match their information search need and are more suitable, readable, education, and less objectionable.


Jerry Alan Fails is a Professor in the Computer Science Department at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. The general area of his research is human-computer interaction — how people interact with computers and designing technology to meet users’ needs. His primary focus is on designing technology with and for children, and within that, his research has two main components: (1) to develop methods to collaboratively work with children as design partners, and (2) to design, develop, and evaluate technologies for children (primarily ages 6-11). In order to accomplish this, he employs participatory design methods and directs an intergenerational design team with children (ages 6-11) and adults (e.g., partners, faculty researchers, and graduate and undergraduate students). His current projects focus on supporting children as they search for information online, understanding privacy and fear within family contexts, supporting children's privacy and security needs online, and expanding methods of designing technologies with and for children and families to online, hybrid, and in-person modalities at the local and global scale.