Tips on Developing Apps for Children

girl with smartphone
Hero Images/Getty Images

Mobile app development is by itself a complex process, which involves several stages of planning and execution. This problem gets more complicated when you are trying to target the current generation of kids. Developing apps for children can be quite a task, as you have to look into many more factors, such as the reaction of the child; whether he or she would be able to learn something useful from it; if it would get the approval of the parents and so on and so forth.

Here are some useful tips on developing mobile apps for children....

Understand Your Audience

This may come as a shocker to you, but it is a fact that over 50 percent of the children that have access to a mobile phone are actually adept at using it. This automatically implies that they are also familiar with downloading these apps and working with them. Most of these children like to download apps that entertain, such as games, stories, videos and such.

In case it is the parents who download apps for their kids, they mostly prefer to download educational, problem-solving or creative apps, which focus on developing a particular skill set. These parents would also like the apps to be fun and interactive, so that the child actually gets to learn something constructive from it.

It is always better for you to develop mobile apps in accordance with the parents’ wishes. That way, you can cover a much wider audience. But in this case, you will have to think of developing engaging and entertaining apps, which are also educative in some way.

Designing Your App UI

As far as your app design UI goes, the following is what you will have to look into:

  • Your initial splash screen is the most vital thing here, as it will make the first impression among your young audience. See to it that the splash screen is bright, colorful and eye-catching. More importantly, it should ideally not last longer than 10 seconds. Otherwise, the children using your app will start losing patience with it. In case your app takes a longer while to load, keep your audience engaged with some kind of music or animation that they would be interested to keep hearing.
  • An elaborate home screen is not going to enjoy much importance with kids below, say, 4 years. Children below this age group are usually not too familiar with reading and writing and will also have no interest for various menu options inserted into the home screen. Making your home screen very elementary will help in this case, as children using this app will then only have to tap once to get it working. Of course, you can use a few home screen options if you are targeting slightly older children, but make sure that these options are simple to understand and follow as well.
  • The next thing you should think about is the settings option. Using too many settings can confuse children, especially the very young ones. If you simply have to have a variety of different settings, figure it out in such a way that if a child touches them accidentally, it will not vastly affect the general feel of your app. Note here that children are going to be a little clumsy while handling mobile devices, especially the huge ones like tablets. Besides, settings are normally used by parents and hence, you could probably design a separate app settings panel for this, so that the child need not be affected by it.
  • Creating Apps for Different Mobile Systems

Interact with Your Young Audience

Make your app interact with your target audience. If you look around, you will notice that children are generally attracted toward objects that seem larger than life. Hence, design your app in a way that everything stands out from the screen.

Your audio-visual elements should also be obviously present and you can maybe introduce a secret element of surprise, so that the child is intrigued by it and is always thrilled when he or she discovers this little secret.

Offer a Reward System

Children respond positively to rewards and praise – it is very good for their self-esteem as well. Try and make your app both challenging and rewarding, so that the child is kept happy while using the app and keeps coming back for more. A mere clap or smiley face is enough to encourage the child and keep him or her happy. A good challenge also prevents them from losing their interest and straying away to another app.

Of course, children of different age groups like different levels of challenges. While the ones under 4 years of age would get tired with something that is out of their grasp, those between 4 and 6 would enjoy something challenging. Children beyond that age group would probably play the game only to achieve their goal before anyone else does – the competing factor would show up in this case.

In Conclusion

It is no mean deal to develop a mobile app for children. Make a note of the above-mentioned tips and design your app in such a way that it would both entertain and educate children. Children are blessed with a natural sense of curiosity and wonder. Find out ways and means by which these traits can further be nurtured.