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Tips to Design Creative Mobile Apps for Kids

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The Internet and technology have made many things simpler, and building a mobile app is one of them. Computer programmers and designers in the industry have mastered the science and craft of building apps. However, app development for kids is still a newly explored territory where UX (User Experience) designers are still exploring new areas to make the best user-friendly apps for kids. 

The people involved in building and designing apps have a huge responsibility on their shoulders as they have the potential to influence and mould future generations directly. For example, Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly mentioned the role of games in his childhood, which substantially drove him towards programming. Moreover, when a designer works on developing a kid’s app, such as simplicity, user-friendliness, and parental control of the apps.

Following are some points a developer must keep in mind while building a kid’s app.

Embrace Gamification Amidst Simplicity

Simplicity should be the developer’s main focus while making an Android app for kids. Children often enjoy small tasks and challenges during their day. Therefore, making mobile games is one of the best choices as it is challenging yet simple, and children will love to play with them. Also, winning those short tasks increases the app’s perceived value, and kids tend to use it more.

Feedback Is A Must

If the mobile app is designed for kids, it is only useful with tons of audio-visual experience. However, children in small age groups are usually amused by little chimes here and there while using the app. Also, the colour grading and theme selection should be made with bright colours, thereby seeking more attention from the child.

The kids should be able to infer rewards or no rewards with the sounds and visuals. None of the experience should be harsh or blunt, e.g., if the user does not win the reward, a buzzing red cross is a bad option for a kid’s app, but a pleasant jingle with “better luck next time” and a tiny avatar is far more effective. If the child is providing positive feedback or constructive criticism, it should be reported by the parents in the app store, which will allow for a better app experience in the future.

Have Clarity with the Age Group

While UI and UX designers do not necessarily have to think of diverse plans of action while designing apps for adults, the same is not true for kids. Kids grow and mature significantly faster than people in every age bracket. 

An approximate grouping can be of ages five and less (preschoolers), 6-8 age range, 9-11 age range, and ages overlapping with teenagers. Apps must be designed and built differently while keeping the target audience (children’s age -group) in mind. The basic reason behind such an approach is the brain develops rapidly as children grow from 5-15 years old. For example, for a 5-year-old kid, the mobile app will be musical and nursery rhymes, while a mobile app for a 12-year-old kid will be more challenging. (Solving complex arithmetic or playing complex games)

Do Not Build Traps To Sell

Designers in the job of building apps for kids need to ensure the safety of the children. In children’s apps, the designs that trick them into buying stuff and involve in-app purchases should be discarded promptly. Mobile app development for children is for boosting mental capabilities while having fun rather than involving sales.

Overall experience should be cohesive and consistent.

No one likes abrupt changes and unnecessary design variations, especially the kids. Even though the playful nature of kids might give you the idea that the app should involve variations and transitions, the placement of the transition becomes important. 

A child might consider the application to be the best app only when the transition occurs after the completion of one task, one level, or completion of one song, a nursery rhyme. The mid-level transition should be avoided at any cost.

Do place unexpected rewards.

Children love any sort of reward. Small rewards when using an app elevate the use of it and make the experience memorable and worthy of a repeat. An example of such unexpected rewards can be unlocking two levels with a once-a-week frequency while using the app through mobile devices. In addition, it helps the children to be engaged with the app.

Design endless possibilities

Children enjoy never-ending small challenges. The never-ending challenges always get children hooked on these learning apps. An example can be a spelling app, in which the app keeps on rolling more and more words with a slight increase in toughness. These would help the kid to open the app more frequently and play and learn along the way, thereby enhancing the child’s motor skills as well.

Interactive Design

Whether the mobile app is built for an iPhone or an Android phone, the design should always aim at “involvement-oriented design. The importance of user interaction design is to increase the attention span of the children in the app.

While adults would require the minimum number of steps to access a function in an app, it is different for kids. If the playing habits of kids, especially preschoolers, are observed, they are always involved in one task or another. Thereby, the design needs to be interactive as it needs to catch the attention span of the kid. Moreover, this restless nature of children can be used appropriately for educational apps and allow them to learn stuff by themselves through the app.

Wrapping It Up

Building a software development mobile app for a child, whether an iOS app or making it for an Apple iPad, must be dealt with properly. With the penetration of tech in every aspect of human life and kids using mobile phones more than ever before, designers of mobile apps for kids have a huge responsibility on their shoulders to make better learning apps to help children to boost their mental strength. The article helped to provide insights into kid-centric app design, like design process and game design. 

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