Designing Apps for Kids - Best Practices

March 21, 2017

Athar Majeed

There is no one who hangs up an incoming call faster than a kid watching a video or playing games on a parent’s Smartphone. Many parents can testify, hands up high, to that. It’s annoying but again very hilarious. This is how kids truly relish and love interactive apps. Apps are for the kids! They are arguably their new best friends. Of course, not all apps are meant for children, only those that interact with them with provocative insights to help them learn and most importantly play, sing and laugh. Kids will be kids and designing apps for kids needs to echo that mawkishness.

When developing and designing apps for kids, especially those between the ages of 3-7, may be easier said than done. Why? There are unique cases to be considered especially from a UI/UX point of view.  Some of these considerations include:

  • Children can’t read yet and placing labels under icons may prove futile.
  • Kids have little deftness and muscular controls compared to adults. Thus, they are limited to some gestures like swiping, double-tapping, pinching and even multi-touch as they can’t move their fingers and hands as swift.
  • Children shouldn’t be laden with information on screens. It is no rocket science that kids would be overawed and overwhelmed with stuffed info on a single screen.
  • And most importantly, they need more security features and special safety measures. So when developing a secure app for kids, a designer should take into account parental gates, avoid in-app advertising and outbound links.

The process of developing apps is usually complex. It involves a number of stages for planning and execution. It gets more complicated when the target market is the current generation of children. Designing Kids apps introduce a lot more new factors like children reaction, whether they will learn the usefulness of the app, or if the parents will approve the app.

It’s a great step to understanding your audience before starting to create an app for children and the younger generation. Recognise that what worked for millennia's may not work for the new generation. And prototype design may not be as business as usual.

Tips to consider when designing apps for kids

We have put together some of the important tips to help you when you are designing apps for kids.

Understanding the Kids

Nowadays, more than 50% of children access gadgets such as mobile phones, tablets and computers and they know how to use them. This implies that they are familiar with the stores from where to download and use them. Most apps downloaded are games, videos and story apps.

In the event that it is the parents that are downloading the apps for their kids, they prefer picking creative, problem- solving and educational apps that focus on developing the skills of their children. Parents will also recommend apps that are interactive and fun for the child to learn constructively from it. Therefore, it is imperative to develop apps that fulfil the wishes of parents. When it comes to children, you have to bear in mind entertainment, development and engagement apps.

Read MorePrototyping for Web and Mobile Apps, Why Bother Now?

Designing kid’s app interfaces

The most vital thing is the splash screen. This creates the first impression of your audience, which is very important. This screen has to be bright, eye-catching and colourful. Ideally, it does not have to take more than ten seconds. This will help children not to lose patience. Some background music can also help in catching attention. This will depend based on the age of the kids and the type of app you are designing.

An intricate home screen will not work for children below four years because they don’t know how to read. They won’t fancy many menu options on the home screen. Therefore, you have to ensure that the home screen is quite basic and elementary helping children to easily comprehend, tap once and enjoy the apps.

The settings option is the next thing to consider. Too many settings do confuse children. If you need several settings, you have to place them in a way that will not affect the app’s feel. In most cases, parents are the ones to control the settings; therefore, you can consider creating a different settings panel. When working on the app, the prototype design should address such setting specification making everything clear from the beginning.

Interacting with children

It is very important to make sure that your app interacts with children. When you look around, it is easy to notice that large objects attract children. Therefore, your app needs a design that displays all things right on the screen.

The presence of audio and visual elements has to be present. You also need to introduce some elements of surprise so as to intrigue a child. This will keep him/her thrilled with the little one becoming more eager to discover that surprising flash or element.

Offer a reward system

Children love praises and rewards. This serves them perfectly for their self-esteem. Making your app both rewarding and challenging will keep the child happy and active. This will keep him/her yearning for more. You can use a smiley face or a clap to maintain the child's happiness. This will ensure the interest is not lost. However, delineating the app to the present varying levels challenges with different age groups of children.

In conclusion, generation Z is an increasingly important market and a group of customers to consider, who will help to shape the future. Make sure to incorporate as much engagement of their creativity as possible when developing the app. Allow them to tell the story as they are using the app. More creativity will also bring more engagement and fun into the app.

Remember not to make the child wait for too long to have another birth in the world of technology. They are debatably one of the most impatient generations that you can become more creative and knowledgeable. So next time you are developing an app for a generation of young fledgeling tech experts remember to follow the discussed steps.

Read More: Are you Confused? How to improve your design communication

Concentrate on the mentioned tips on every prototype design, keeping in mind that the app should entertain and educate children. Curiosity and wonder usually bless kids’ childhood and these traits need to founded and carry on with ageing.


Get started with Savah now - free forever

The free plan includes unlimited projects and other premium features like password protection and integrations with Sketch.
13000+ product designers are using Savah. No credit card required!
Get Started-Free Forever
Copyright ©Savah 2024. All Rights Reserved. 

Subscribe To Savah Insights

Join our Savah Insights, delivered right in your inbox. Never Spam! 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram