School’s almost out for the summer! For most kids, this means more free time. Hopefully much of that time will be spent outside, but it’s likely that a majority of it will be inside, and online, as well. They’ll be downloading new games, playing old favorites, and checking out new sites – whether it’s for fun or education. The best online experiences will be the ones that stick and the ones they tell their friends about.

Most kids seem to be on computers and tablets almost as soon as they can sit up and move a mouse or tap a screen – which is why successful user experience for children is so important.

With the many products we have designed for the younger generation, we have put together a few tips and guidelines along the way to help make your next kid friendly initiative successful.

Ages 3-5: This age group is so much fun to design for!

  • Use text redundantly with images for children just learning to read.
  • Use simple, short text for headers.
  • Use fonts that approximate how children learn to write. For example, many fonts use “a” and “q” in styles that do not match how some children are taught to write those letters.
  • Use large font sizes.
  • Children in this age group are attracted to bright and lively colors.
  • Incorporate numerous pictures and visual cues.
  • Provide large target areas for clicking.

Ages 5-7: This group can read and is more comfortable in front of the computer, so you have more flexibility. Keep in mind that children in this age group are typically slow typists.

  • Children want instant gratification with content and interactivity.
  • Children find multiple and redundant navigation confusing.
  • Use simple, short text for headers.
  • Allow children to personalize their screens – they love being creative!
  • Underline all hyperlinked text.

Ages 8-12 – With this age group there are some overlap of guidelines with the 5-7 year olds as well as with the 13 and up age demographic, but they also have their own set of design criteria.

  • The more web experience a child has, the less they want to read instructions.
  • Keep writing succinct and in small chunks if possible, however, children 9 years or older are more likely to scroll.
  • If you use characters or photos, make sure they are around middle school level (which is slightly older) otherwise they can be interpreted as babyish.
  • Children this age are impatient so loading time is important.

We can save the teen experience for another post – that is requires a whole other set of rules!

There’s a lot of online competition in the children’s educational and game space, but hopefully the above tips will help your product stand out in the crowd and help keep kids busy and entertained (when they aren’t playing outside, that is…).

Sara Mastro

About Sara Mastro

Sara is responsible for leading our Digital Agency teams that create intuitive user experiences for our clients’ websites and applications. Her extensive background in design and research is the basis for our methodology in creating smart user experiences that win the loyalty of their users. Sara began her career at…
Posted in branding, design, tips, uxdesign.

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