I studied Communication and Information Sciences at Utrecht University from 2001-2005. During this study, I developed an interest in the usability of digital environments. I wrote my Master's thesis about the navigation structures of municipal websites and the effect of user's domain knowledge on the use of these navigation structures. After my graduation, I conducted contract research at the Language and Communication group of Utrecht University. In this research, I analyzed and evaluated the usability of several governmental public websites.
From 2006-2008, I worked as a communications advisor for the municipality of The Hague to make improvements to the digital products and services on their municipal website.
In 2008, I got the chance to start my own research project in the web usability domain as a PhD student. This time, the focus of my research interest on web usability shifted from adults to children.
Every day, digital media play a more important role in our society and in children's lives. In the Netherlands, practically all children are online nowadays. Besides playing games, children use digital media for social gatherings, to create their own digital space and to find information as a support for learning.
Researchers report all kinds of problems children encounter during information-seeking, because they are confronted with information systems that are designed by and for adults. Therefore, the last decade, many digital enviro
nments have been developed with a child-friendly interface, especially for children. It is not clear whether these environments really support children in effective information-seeking and whether these systems are consistent with children's cognitive needs and skills. What role does fun and emotion play in children's digital search behavior? And what is the relation between experienced fun on the one side and usability of the search environment on the other side? How can we design search interfaces that are consistent with children's needs and skills and support them in effective information-seeking? The challenge in my PhD-research project named 'The Digital Youth Library' is to find an answer to these questions.