Surrey web design company, Thunderbolt Digital, offers a wide range of professional services, including digital design, web development, social media marketing, hosting, content creation and much more. With an in-house team of expert designers and developers, we are well aware of how web design must be built and adapt to fit our clients’ target audiences. It’s a common sight these days in a café or a train-station to see a child eagerly browsing the web on a phone or a tablet. The number of websites and apps targeted at children are booming which raises the question – how is designing for children different to designing for adults?
It’s not just a matter of dumbing the text down and adding more colourful pictures. Our Surrey web design team know that when designing for a child, you have to get into the mindset of a child. Research and observation is perhaps the best way to do this. Choose a targeted age range and research how these children play, what exactly grabs their attention and how can you utilise this in your site. Children are creative and can have some seemingly nonsensical ways of interacting with the world. Working with children in a collaborative approach to web or app making is one way to know your audience. Let them draw and create with paper and glue what you could eventually use online.
Usability is one factor that must be taken into account that differs with age groups. Children lack the fine motor controls of adults, so take that into account when creating interactive content to grip their attention. It’s no generalisation to say that children love colour. Using colours, such as creating clear boxes around content and links helps a child work out how to use your site. Using muted colours for backgrounds and brighter ones for content is another way of diverting attention.
Children can be confused or bored by multi-step processes so make sure your links are clear and immediate. Children are more likely to immediately select an interesting font rather than look in a drop down menu. Having a full-page menu is a popular choice in children’s apps and sites. If you want to explain an interactive function, if in doubt, explain it through an image rather than text or an additional how to page. Images hold interest better for all ages.
Don’t underestimate the power of sound clips and animation for entertaining children (and adults too!) Utilising sound and animation produces feedback for a child, motivating them to continue using the site by rewarding them an additional experience. Feedback provides a learning experience and can be utilised both with educational sites and non-educational ones. A child is more likely to remember a product with, for example, animated snowflakes falling down its page. Interest caught, they are then more likely to ask their parents to buy the product for them.
Though you are designing for children, don’t forget to consider the adults in their lives. They may need to log in as a potential purchaser or to troubleshoot any problems the child might encounter whilst playing. Make sure appropriate functionality is in place so they can do the all important buying or fixing so the child keeps coming back to your site.