sg 13(1): e5

Research Article

Children Designing Serious Games

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  • @ARTICLE{10.4108/trans.gbl.01-06.2013.e5,
        author={J.C. Read and G. Sim and A.J. Gregory and D. Xu and J.B. Ode},
        title={Children Designing Serious Games},
        journal={EAI Endorsed Transactions on Serious Games},
        keywords={serious games, participatory design, children, tablet},
  • J.C. Read
    G. Sim
    A.J. Gregory
    D. Xu
    J.B. Ode
    Year: 2013
    Children Designing Serious Games
    DOI: 10.4108/trans.gbl.01-06.2013.e5
J.C. Read1, G. Sim2, A.J. Gregory3, D. Xu4, J.B. Ode5
  • 1: UClan, UK
  • 2: UClan, UK,
  • 3: UClan, UK,
  • 4: UClan, UK,
  • 5: IUT of Montepellier, Université Montpellier 2, France,


It has long been a tradition in interaction design to involve users in order to better capture user needs and preferences. The involvement of children as informants and design partners is well documented for interaction design but its use in serious games design is much less reported. Where children are contributing to the design of learning materials their knowledge may be incomplete. This paper reports on the organisation of, and the deliverables from, a participatory design activity with children in which they were charged with designing a game for children in another continent. The study found that children predominantly focussed on the learning aspects of the serious game during their design activities but they were also able to consider some of the game aspects. They demonstrated understanding of instruction but were less aware of some of the other aspects of learning including feedback on understanding. Involving children in the design of the serious game lead to some nice insights that were included in the game that was subsequently built and shipped. Taking Müller’s third place in HCI as inspiration, the paper concludes with some reflection for how to involve children in serious game design.