Designing For Children

Designing For Children


During my internship at NN/g I researched
the usability of websites and apps for children ages 3 to 12. Designing for kids is challenging because both their physical and mental
abilities are still developing. For designers of children’s websites and apps,
the first step is to consider which age group your target audience falls into. Then, match the user interface with physical
capacity and the device preference of that target group. For example, children between the ages of
3 and 5 years prefer touchscreens that only require tapping and swiping. They do not yet have the muscle skills for
trackpads, keyboards or the mouse. Kids between 6 and 8 are becoming more familiar
with the PC but are still more comfortable with games that require simple keyboard
interactions or clicks. Dragging with the mouse can still be very
difficult for this group. Children who are 9 and older generally can
handle games requiring two-handed use much better. In addition to considering physical capacity,
delivering content that suits children’s cognitive level is equally important. Content that is too advanced or that lacks clear
explanations can confuse younger users. Content that is too easy can bore older kids
and cause them to leave the site quickly. In one case, a 10-year-old in testing only
saw simplistic games on the homepage of a site designed for 6- to 12-year-olds so she
assumed that the site was only for kindergarteners. Last, UX conventions are not just for adults. They help kids interact more comfortably and efficiently. Use children’s existing mental models and
skeuomorphic design. Something like showing stoves in a cooking
game can reduce the mental efforts for kids to understand the interface. Or, using autocorrection and partial matching
during search can prevent errors and frustrations in figuring out and fixing the errors. Remember, designs that fail to consider kids’
ability levels won’t bring joy but only frustration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *