Children are an audience that’s more demanding than any adult group.
If they don’t like something, they don’t like it and they won’t use it at all. This is why creating something for children is especially hard. Now that there are also apps and websites for kids, this is even harder. You have to create something educational but fun.
But how do you do that?
Here are some tips:
Think like a kid
It’s hard to relate to the audience that’s so different than you, but it’s necessary. When designing for kids, you need to focus on them and what they would like. For example, zen design is preferred in the adult world but it would be shunned by kids. Think about how kids see things as well. For them, anything is a fun toy - a brick, the remote control and so on. Everything can have a fun purpose. Use this in your design.
Use bold colours
Again, while zen is favored by the adults, kids prefer bold colors, funny shapes and visual cues all around. This is why your website or app should have plenty of these - bright blue, sparkling yellow, shiny red and many more colors that you otherwise would never use for a regular design. However, make sure they are in a somewhat compelling combination.
Make navigation as clear as possible
Children are not so good at navigating adult websites. For one, most of the children you’ll design for can’t read which means that simply writing “home” will not be enough. Rely on images and illustration that they can understand. Make it simple as well, children design doesn’t have to have so many pages and complex navigation points because it would confuse them.
Protect the parents
Make sure that you add enough barriers for children that can protect the parents from large phone bills and unwanted apps. Children won’t buy something on purpose but can do so by accident when they tap on other things. Any monetization strategies should be kept just for parents and make sure that you create some form of protection that only an adult can understand.
Mind the typography
Kids are not really big fans of script fonts - most of them can’t read and they find them boring. Serif and sans serif might face the same fate with most kids. Design a special font that’s funny and interesting in a way that would appeal to kids - it can have eyes or some decorations.
Rely on visuals heavily
“Since kids can’t read, they rely on visuals to navigate and get a sense of where they are in an app or on a website. Use images, illustrations and drawings heavily to show them different elements of where they are,” says Joy Felix, interaction designer at 1day2write.
Design for kid gestures
Kids are not as good as adults at using some devices. This means that they can’t pinch, tap properly on what they want, click and so on. If you make the icons too small, they will likely miss them and tap on something else. Leave enough space around them as well, to avoid missteps.
Decrease the number of elements on the screen
While children like colors, they can be confused if you put too many items on the screen. Put a few fun and colorful items on the screen in order to help them focus their attention. Think Peppa Pig - simple, yet colorful design.
Children’s websites and apps are definitely not a good place for advertisements. They have no way of knowing that the ad is not a part of the design and they will click on it or tap on it - this will not only lead them away from your app or website but it will also result in unwanted downloads.
Design for parents as well
“Parents are probably your toughest audience. They want what’s best for their kids and they will only download what they see as worthy and good for them. This means that your app or website should be educational in a fun way, safe or at least entertaining,” says Tina Diamond, UX designer at Write My X and BritStudent.
Designing for children is a difficult job that takes a lot of work and testing, You have to satisfy both kids and parents, create something fun that can also help them learn and many, many more things. However, it’s also very fun and rewarding. Follow these design tips to make sure that your design matches what a kid would want.