Designing websites for children presents a lot of opportunities for web designers. But at the same time, it requires specified knowledge dealing with children’s psychology and outlook.
Today we are going to find out what sort of website will best suit kids’ expectations. Should it be brash and busy or packed with colors, comics and cartoon typography? Or is any other approach necessary?
What are the key child-friendly Web design guidelines?
You may be surprised to learn that both teenagers and kids prefer the same design features that adults do, including high-quality content and clarity. But, at the same time, children enjoy interactive features and novelty.
So what steps should a designer consider before getting started with the work that will be aimed at kids and their parents.
- Show Respect towards Kids
Children are very sensitive and sophisticated consumers from an early age. Due to their psychological features, they are likely to feel any sort of bias or age-targeting in web design. So, don’t even try to show any superiority of adults and don’t talk down to youngsters if you want your website to gain their trust.
If possible, ask some kids and teenagers to comment on the design in the very planning stage. This will help you to make the right decisions as to the stylistic preferences, navigation solutions and overall design patterns.
- Opt for Plain Talk
Avoid making your website layout, navigation, typography and language any more complex than is necessary. It is important to provide both concise language and the possibility of seeking further details if required. It is a good idea to use big buttons in order to direct visitors to age-relevant parts of your website.
- Gain Trust
This is where you should consider both parents’ and kids’ expectations, since parents and children look for secure, trustworthy and reputable websites. They want to be sure the website content is actively moderated and checked, and support is on hand, be it accessible tutorials or walkthroughs.
- Interact with Kids
Latest research shows that forums, mini-games, ranking systems, polls, competitions and 3-D interfaces and other interactive website features are appreciated by kids if they generate a sense of community and encourage participation. For instance, a number of websites allow kids to dress up and style their avatars and chat online with friends. If you choose to skip interactive features in your web design, be ready to see that the kids’ initial interest in your website will gradually vanish. By the way, keep in mind that boys prefer games while girls are more focused on various social and interactive activities.
- Include Reward Loyalty
Consider launching a reward loyalty program for kids. Make sure there are website-specific awards and ranking schemes as well as personal content aggregated on social networks. Note, badges, avatars, high scores and items are usually related to a website, while kids’ photos, chats, links and music live on a social media platform.
To conclude with, remember that children enjoy novelty, since this is their way of discovering the world around them. At the same time, adults do their best to give kids novel experiences and new ideas. Ideally, a website aimed at kids should do the same. So, before you start designing such a website ask yourself what you could possible offer that would fit in children’s existing Web experience and that would let them open new horizons doing something they have never done before.