Designing Mobile Apps for Children? Read their Mind First
In order to come up with mobile apps that duly attract kids, developers need to have a thorough understanding of their world i.e. their mind set, maturity level, demands and expectations. Today, kids are extraordinarily smart and tech savvy. Imagine their reaction when an app takes up a few minutes to load. Given their impatient attitude, it is sure that they will never wait but keep tapping the screen with the intention to get things going at once. If this doesn’t suffice, they are bound to call upon immediate attention of their parents.
To deal with this situation, developers need to provide tactful solutions, which can divert attention from the loading process for a while. For example, to compensate for a length of 24 to 28 seconds of loading time in the app The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, the developers embodied an appeasing splash screen music to span that duration. In a similar fashion, puzzles and animations can also be used to pacify children till the application loading is in progress. One needs to accept the fact that kids are different from adults and hence, apps meant to serve them, need to be different as well. This mandates the necessity for significant research on the target age group, before launching a venture to create a fun-filled and engaging app, with a potential to gain immense popularity with time.
Let us have a look at the critical nuances of designing and developing children-friendly mobile apps:
Do Away with Home Screens
Home screens do not appeal much to kids, especially between the ages 1 to 5 years. By removing this page, you not only eliminate the need to return to the home page for resuming a game, but also avoid frustrations at the little user’s end. Hence, it is advisable that you design apps that facilitate immediate booting. Undoubtedly, kids will welcome this change with open arms.
Make Settings Non-Intrusive
It is the parents’ prerogative to keep control over all device and application settings. Frankly speaking, kids of a lesser age also do not possess the understanding to play around with these functions. Keeping both parties in mind, it is the best if app specific settings are left to remain as a part of the device settings only. In doing so, you can ensure that children do not touch and trigger any unwanted responses. If there is need for frequent modifications in language or music configurations, then a non-intrusive setting can prove to be most helpful. This will provide assurance that an accidental tap will not impede application performance by any means.
Check for Functionalities that Work Well for Children
Developers need to have an understanding of the capabilities that a child might have mastered at a particular age. Most often, it is seen that functionalities like tilt, inch, double-tap, multi-touch etc. make operations challenging for children. Instead they prefer swiping, drawing and tapping movements. By focusing on these gestures, you can make sure that the mobile apps design is suitable for children and they can manoeuvre comfortably at all times. Ideally, it might be a better idea to keep provisions for both tapping and swiping functionalities. If possible, also provide a large tap area and tag additional sensations like vibration and sound, so that kids get to know that they are going in the right direction. In case game objects or buttons are used to boost interaction, always make it a point to highlight them by using various colour schemes, art styles and appropriate line weight. Moreover, keep buttons away from the edges of the screen because; children unintentionally rest their wrists along these regions.
Limit Audio and Enhance Visual Instructions
Often, audio fails to claim children’s attention as much as visuals. Thus, it makes sense to minimize audio interactions and replace it with captivating video instructions. For instance, if the game involves moving objects from one location to another, the path to achieve this objective demands highlighting over other background visuals. This will offer adequate guidance that can prompt children to take necessary actions on their own. The best example that can be cited here is that of the app called Toy Story for iPad. Developers have incorporated intricate hand holding details like- a glowing light within the character that will grab attention and guide kids to hit on it, to initiate further actions. Optimum design elements are the basic requirements for mobile apps, be it for gaming or learning. You need to think like a child to generate revolutionary ideas and then follow it up with adequate designing measures.
Smartcoders is a market leader in mobile app development and has years of experience in designing and developing a multitude of unique learning and gaming apps, at low cost. Feel free to connect with our experts to gain further insights regarding children’s app development.