Children’s Digital Books: Development, Testing and Dissemination of Quality Criteria


educational technologies, EdTech, digital books, reading platforms, children's reading, e-bøker, digtiale bøker, leseplattformer


  • Quality digital children’s books are expected to offer a reading experience that goes beyond the traditional paper book by including interactive and multimodal features, open-ended spaces for dialogue, children’s creativity, and agency. The technology is available; however, it is not yet harnessed to reach its full potential.
  • An extensive literature review was performed to identify key quality indicators of effective digital reading platforms for young children.
  • Nine quality criteria have been selected, and applied to ten digital reading platforms (Appendix 2) from a children's user experience standpoint.
  • The quality criteria focus on the design and content of the platforms/books and whether the digital libraries are: purposeful, sustained, intercultural, interactive, child-friendly, accessible, personalisable, creative and social.
  • Most of the evaluated digital libraries have a clear purpose and they support sustained interaction with their content to some degree, but there is considerable space for further development.
  • All of the evaluated digital reading platforms are to some extent interactive, though none of the evaluated platforms were rich in congruent multimedia.
  • Some of the evaluated digital books are clearly more successful than others in terms of the child-friendly nature of their design but none of the reviewed platforms had an extensive selection of accessibility tools and design features.
  • Some level of customisation seems to be a standard feature; however, features that allow for personalisation are missing.
  • Creative and social interactions in the reviewed e-libraries are very limited: most digital libraries are designed primarily to support children in independent reading.
  • While most of the platforms include information on safeguarding policies, they are not always sufficiently detailed or written in clear and understandable language. None of the platforms addressed their child readers directly in this respect. None of the platforms had any disturbing content or advertisements.
  • Most of the libraries we reviewed offer a positive, intercultural, learning environment, and some of the libraries focus on, for example, providing books in less spoken languages.

Author Biographies

Petra Vackova

The Open University

Anna Lindroos Cermakova

Senior Research Associate in Corpus Linguistics and Sociomaterial Methodologies
Lancaster University
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Natalia Ingebretsen Kucirkova

University in Stavanger
Faculty of Arts and Education
Norwegian Centre for Learning Environment and Behavioral Research in Education


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