The proliferation of smartphones and tablets has increased children’s access to and usage of touchscreen devices. Prior work on smartphones has shown that children’s touch interactions differ from adults’. However, larger screen devices like tablets and tabletops have not been studied at the same granularity for children as smaller devices. We present two studies: one of 13 children using tablets with pen and touch, and one of 18 children using a touchscreen tabletop device. Participants completed target touching and gesture drawing tasks. We found significant differences in performance by modality for tablet: children responded faster and slipped less with touch than pen. In the tabletop study, children responded more accurately to changing target locations (fewer holdovers), and were more accurate touching targets around the screen. Gesture recognition rates were consistent across devices. We provide design guidelines for children’s touchscreen interactions across screen sizes to inform the design of future touchscreen applications for children.

Julia Woodward, Alex Shaw, Aishat Aloba, Ayushi Jain, Jaime Ruiz, and Lisa Anthony. 2017. Tablets, tabletops, and smartphones: cross-platform comparisons of children’s touchscreen interactions. In Proceedings of the 19th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI 2017). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 5-14. DOI:

 author = {Woodward, Julia and Shaw, Alex and Aloba, Aishat and Jain, Ayushi and Ruiz, Jaime and Anthony, Lisa},
 title = {Tablets, Tabletops, and Smartphones: Cross-platform Comparisons of Children's Touchscreen Interactions},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 19th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction},
 series = {ICMI 2017},
 year = {2017},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-5543-8},
 location = {Glasgow, UK},
 pages = {5--14},
 numpages = {10},
 url = {},
 doi = {10.1145/3136755.3136762},
 acmid = {3136762},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {Touchscreen, children, gesture interaction, gesture recognition, pen, tablet, tabletop, target interaction, touch},