Children’s agency by design: Design parameters for personalization in story-making apps

Kucirkova, Natalia (2019). Children’s agency by design: Design parameters for personalization in story-making apps. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, 21 pp. 112–120.



The importance of children’s agency in the use of technologies is well-established but it continues to be challenged with applications that automatically personalize children’s content. This paper integrates educational theory of personalization with the design principles and empirical work of a story-making app called Our Story, which places a child’s agency at the center of its design. The impact of a series of studies with the OS app is summarized and implications for future design are offered. The Agentic Personalization Framework that consists of a design principle and a set of guiding questions is presented. The design principle is based on two continuous axes: agency/structure and individualism/collectivism, which give rise to four processes: personalization/customization and standardization/individualization. The guiding questions are intended to promote reflection among researchers and designers interested in supporting children’s agency with stories that children can make or interact with on tablets. The Agentic Personalization Framework is rooted in empirical studies, iterative design and theoretical developments and provides a fertile ground for research-design collaborations that place children’s agency at the heart of innovative work.

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