Secrets of Creating Stunning Apps for Kids
Kids are savvy smartphone users. They start using different devices from the very early age. Today a Daddy's Little Princess does not expect new pink roller skaters from Santa Claus, she hopes to see a gift box with a new tablet under the Christmas tree.
Mobile app stores are flooded with entertaining and educational apps for kids. But how good are they? People who create apps for kids are not children themselves, and they may miss some essential details. Apps that adults love are often different from those stealing kids' hearts. Children look for entertainment, while grownups tend to use apps to get things done, communicate with others, etc.
So, what should app developers consider before creating an app for kids? Read this article to find it out.
Gender and Age
Gender-based preferences should be taken into consideration. If you are going to develop an app solely for boys or girls, remember to use elements and colors they like. E.g., blue or red racing cars in a boys' app and baby dolls wearing pink dresses in a mobile game for girls.
Stages of the child development also matter. Kids' mental and physical abilities change as they grow. That is why it is better to identify your target audience before getting down to the development process.
For instance, preschoolers (3-5 years) can hardly stay focused and show little patience for tackling the same task for lengthy periods. They will never use an app with too complex instructions finding it extremely boring and failing to remember all the rules. Children belonging to this age group have relatively weak memory skills, so they like repeating the same task over and over again.
They do not have an adequate understanding of 3D shapes. So, try to avoid 3D in apps for children of this age.
Source: LEGO® Juniors Create & Cruise
School kids (6-8 years) distinguish themselves from preschoolers. They will never choose a game that seems to be created for children of a younger age, with the only purpose - to entertain.
They complete tasks not just for fun, but to win. Their mental and physical abilities are more developed than those of preschoolers: e.g. they tend to finish what they start.
Tips for App Developers
Kids are passionate color lovers. Apps with bright colors will draw their attention for sure. There is a simple reason for that: different aspects of vision continue to develop throughout early and middle childhood. Kids are attracted by eye-catching colors, as they perceive such colors better than fainter shades.
Source: Animal Sounds for Baby
Color preferences of boys and girls are not the only thing to take into account when it comes to choosing the color palette for the app. There are many other vital factors, such as color meaning in different cultures.
Navigation and Menus
Kids do not like getting lost, but navigation through different app sections may be too tricky for them. They may never open the app again no matter how great it is if they have trouble moving from one section to another.
It is essential to make the navigation simple and clear enough to ensure that kids will not get confused. Feel free to use icons, swipe gestures and arrows for this purpose.
Source: First Words Sampler
Do not rely on words too much: young users may fail to read complex words or may be not able to read at all. Make sure to include icons or graphics to translate instructions into the children's language. Note that icons should be simple. Consider kids' knowledge of the real world and use concepts that they already know: e.g. use a house for the home icon and do not apply a floppy disk for the save icon.
Source: Sago Mini Friends
Children expect feedback after each action they take. They want to hear music or sounds, see movements, new pages, etc.
Make use of interactive elements even if nothing happens. Kids hate waiting, and loading screens may irritate them. Think about using animation.
Source: Where's My Water? 2
You can also turn waiting time into a new fascinating game (see doodle games by Google).
Do not forget to clearly indicate which elements are interactive: kids do not want to lose time trying to guess which elements can move. They will easily become tired and close the app. Utilize glows, motions, shadows, bright colors, etc. to show which elements will react when you touch them.
Source: Nighty Night - Bedtime Story
Limit the number of in-app adds. They are not fun. Ads distract kids away from the play and annoy them.
Gestures and Screen
Younger children lack good motor skills and they may fail to perform complex gestures, such as scaling.
Simple gestures (e.g. tap and touch) are a wise choice. If you want children to use more complex gestures, you'd better add a visual or textual explanation of what you expect from them. E.g. you can describe the long press gesture as "place your finger on the item and continue touching the screen until the item is highlighted".
Take into account the fact that even though you keep away from multi-touch gestures in the app, children will accidentally use them. They may hold a device inappropriately or their friends may attempt to touch the screen too. So, it is vital to ensure that such accidental gestures will not lead to app glitches.
Screen edges are also in danger of being accidentally touched. It is better not to place important menu items on the bottom of the tablet. The size of buttons should also be considered: they should be easy to spot and big enough to be clicked on.
Avoid in-app purchases that require real currency if you do not want to frustrate parents. But if you expect users to pay to access new levels, get vital resources, etc., you can make such purchases available for parents only.
Feel free to protect the "parents" section by passwords or other techniques.
Source: Toddler Kids Puzzles PUZZINGO
As I have mentioned above, kids do not like large texts describing actions that they should take to deal with the app. You can use audio and visual components to show them what to do.
Wise app developers combine voice instructions with visual components and/or texts.
Source: STELLAR FOX
If you want to help kids to be totally engaged with your app, let them personalize it. Give a chance to create accounts, change profile images, edit their personal info, etc. But do not make the registration process too complex. Some children may not like asking their parents for assistance with the registration.
Grownups cannot put themselves into kids' shoes, as they have many years of adult experience. Children love mobile apps, and adults will keep on developing them to entertain and educate their beloved little ones. Grownups can use handy tips discussed in this article to develop a mobile app that will enchant kids.
If you have high hopes that your app will hit the top 10 chart of app stores, you'd better employ software developers who have profound knowledge of gender and behavior-driven techniques required for custom apps development. You can address effectivesoft.com that knows how to use the science-based approach towards the apps development.