Designing great apps for children is a challenging thing to do. Not only do you have to take a lot of effort on researching children's needs, but it also requires a strong app concept that ensures an educational and fun experience. However, it can be done. Generally, apps for children must be aesthetically pleasing and extraordinarily engaging to be successful. But, that’s not enough. In order for children to actually enjoy interacting with an app, it needs to offer children-friendly navigation and must be easy to use.
Here are 5 things we think an app for children should provide:
1) Autonomy for the child
A truly great app lets children play and be entertained on their own. It is intuitive, so children don’t need the help of an adult to understand what to do. It is engaging, so kids don’t lose interest after five minutes of playing/learning. Also, autonomy for the child means peace for parents. At least temporarily :)
2) You should be able to play together
On the other hand, an app should give you the opportunity to play together. Apps should be great fun for the whole family. Playing them together can bond siblings, parents and grandparents.
3) Educational value
We are of the opinion that a kids app’s focus should be on exceptional learning content. An app needs to provide a child with incremental value, so the kid gains knowledge by using the app. 90% of parents agree with us, stating the educational value as most important criteria when searching for new apps for their children.
As mentioned before, an app for children has to be easy to use and intuitive. Overcomplicating things won’t make anyone happy. A great app is not overloaded with buttons, banners or plugins. The app concept should be concise and straightforward. UX for kids is a growing field of work and rightly so.
5) Kids play isn't the same as adult play
As adults we tend to forget that kids’ play differs from our understanding of playing games. We play games in order to win them; we need competition. Children see the world of games from a different perspective. They don’t necessarily have to win, they seek entertainment. An engaging app shifts a kid’s focus away from the experience of losing or winning. A personal high score and a sense of recognition is the best feedback an app can give.
An app that includes all these characteristics is likely to have a good chance on the market. The best way to find out what your target group thinks is to try user testing. Giving out a beta version to parents and their children prior to release provides you with valuable feedback before launch. That’s how we’ve experienced it, what’s your view?
Categories: Thoughts on Education