Important factors to consider when designing for kids
Since children are very different from adults, with specific needs and choices, they require a separate approach to user experience (UX)
Since children are very different from adults, with specific needs and choices, they require a separate approach to user experience (UX) as well as accessibility. The child user-centered design is a prime requisite to create digital products valuable for kids. Below we look at the important characteristics of an app or web application that makes it valuable to child user experience, as well as a successful market product.Entertainment:
Fun must be the primary counterpart of any digital media for kids, since they, even more than adults, are prone to use media for entertainment, not merely for studies or productivity. Even if the app is meant for the latter two reasons, they are to be mediated through the high entertainment factor. This is because their tolerance and patience are quite low. There being many competitors out in the market, the app or website must offer quirk and surprise, lest they lose interest quick enough to start looking for an alternative.
Having the fun factor in the app or website has two major perks:
- They will be popular hence regularly updated
- There is more probability of referrals or recommendations to acquaintances.
When it comes to kids, the visual appeal of any app or website is very important. If it looks boring or minimalistic, they tend to lose patience soon, just as kids respond better to narratives with pictures. Unlike adults, kids need that kind of external motivation, which comes in the form of a fun appearance, through the app or website's design.
A visual aesthetic that is both attractive and fun in its design will trigger the curiosity of the children and will motivate them to use the concerned app or website. This is especially true for the initial usage. The app or website should try to leave the kids happy. Otherwise, they would not want to use it repeatedly.Usability or Accessibility:
Usability or accessibility of any app affects its popularity, especially with today's generation who have grown up along with the digital media they use. Since they speak the "digital language”, they are not intimidated by apps or websites and expect them to be intuitive. If it needs hard work or is not naturalized in its feel, they will blame its design and move on.
Kids have little patience and a tolerance threshold that is low. Depending upon the age, kids cannot or will not read the instructions. Therefore, if the app does not work in an expected way, kids do not bother spending extra time in figuring it out. They will simply discard it.
On the other hand, user-friendly apps or websites matching the cognitive abilities, physical abilities and the expectations of the target age group prove to be more effective.Content That is Age Appropriate:
Content tends to play an important role in creating child-friendly digital media, in so far as it matches the mental models and natural interests of the target age group.
While simplistic content is considered to be boring by kids, kids tend to have difficulties while focusing on complex content. UX developers must consider the fast physical and mental development of children up to 12 years of age. Any good app should focus upon specific age groups, since addressing more than one age group in any app requires the developers to offer multiple complexity levels.Encouragement in Learning:
By nature, kids are curious, and they wish to satiate their desire for learning through play. This provides digital media with endless opportunities to make the media appealing to kids.
Interesting new content that meets the abilities of the target age group can make apps and websites, both fun and exciting. It is important to offer multiple levels to the users for extended usage, which adds new challenges to overcome, as kids love the sense of winning.
UX Design Process