Designing Interfaces for Children: Best Practices and some Practical Tips

Designing an interface suitable for children requires careful consideration of several factors to ensure that it is engaging, easy to use, and safe. Here are some practical tips and examples for designing an interface that meets the needs and preferences of children:

  1. Age Appropriateness: Children of different ages have varying needs and interests. It is essential to design content and features that are appropriate for the target age group. For example, preschool children may be interested in applications that are colorful and have simple gameplay, while older children may prefer more complex applications with a storyline.
  2. Child-Centered Design: A child-centered approach involves engaging children in the design process and incorporating their feedback. This approach ensures that the interface is intuitive and easy to use, promoting engagement and reducing frustration. We can exemplify child-centered design by incorporating interactive elements, encouraging exploration, and catering to different learning styles.
  3. Learning Potential: Educational applications can help children develop important skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. Designers should consider how to incorporate educational elements into the interface to maximize learning potential while keeping the interface fun and engaging. Toca Boca, a popular developer of children’s apps, offers a range of applications that promote creativity, exploration, and imaginative play.
  4. Safety and Privacy: Designers must ensure that the interface is safe for children and respects their privacy. Applications should not collect personal information or data from children without parental consent. Additionally, features such as parental controls can help prevent children from accessing inappropriate content or interacting with strangers. The YouTube Kids application, developed by YouTube, provides a curated and safe selection of content for children.
  5. Prototyping and Testing: Prototyping and testing are essential in designing an interface suitable for children. Prototypes should be tested with children to determine their usability and effectiveness, and adjustments made based on feedback received. StoryToys’ applications exemplify this approach by prototyping and testing their products with children to improve usability and optimize the user experience.
  6. Visual Design: The visual design of the interface should be engaging, colorful, and appealing to children. Graphics, animations, and interactive elements can promote engagement and reduce boredom. Other apps that demonstrate effective visual design include Peppa Pig, which offers vibrant colors, cute characters, and fun animations that appeal to children.
  7. Feedback and Rewards: Children respond well to feedback and rewards. The interface should provide immediate feedback and rewards for accomplishments to promote engagement and reinforce positive behavior. ClassDojo, an application used in schools, provides instant feedback and rewards for students’ achievements, improving engagement and encouraging positive behavior.

Designing an interface suitable for children requires careful consideration of age-appropriateness, child-centered design, learning potential, safety and privacy, prototyping and testing, visual design, and feedback and rewards. By following these practical tips and examining examples from successful applications such as StoryToys apps, Toca Boca, Peppa Pig, and ClassDojo, designers can get inspiration to help them create interfaces that are engaging, easy to use, and safe for children.