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8 Tips When Developing a Mobile App for Kids


Here’s a piece of trivia for you: millions of children use mobile devices. As a matter of fact, 53 percent of the kids in the United States own a smartphone by the age of 11. These children use these devices primarily for two things: games and entertainment.

Although kids rarely purchase apps themselves, this audience accounts for a large market segment and a high-profit potential for businesses and developers. If you want to tap this market segment, you could create a mobile app that kids can use using their mobile devices.

Here are eight tips to help you develop a wonderful and successful app:

Determine the Age Range of Your Target Audience

Before you design the game layout or outsource 2D game art tasks to a trusted company, define the target age range for your mobile app. When determining the age range, you need to put in no more than two or three years. Unlike adults, children grow and adapt much quicker. Their priorities change dynamically, as well.

Establish Your Goals and Refer Back to Them Constantly

When making a children’s mobile app, set specific goals early on, then return to that throughout the development and design process. These goals will guide you in all your content and design decisions.

Use Appropriate Audio and Visuals

Sound is crucial when designing an app for kids, as they may not be strong readers yet. So, remember to add spoken instructions in your games.

When providing audio and visual instructions, be direct and concise. An example is this sentence: “Tap on the white feather.” Then, give them three to five seconds to locate the object. You’re telling the young user exactly what to do, then allowing them to search for the object on their own.

If the child failed to get the right answer within the allotted game time, provide audio or visual hints. Your game, for instance, can say or display a written clue that goes something like this: “The white feather is next to the red apple.”

Create Child-Friendly Icons, Menu and Navigation

Creating good navigation for your mobile tap won’t be an easy task. Children aim to touch game objects that draw their attention. If they find navigating the game to be difficult, they could become easily confused with the programming interface and stop playing the mobile app.

You can avoid frustrating your young users by using a full-screen menu on your app. This simplifies access to various sections. If you’re developing an art game for kids, for instance, limit the menu to two game modes: “Color a Picture” and “Draw a Picture.”

As for the icons and display buttons, make them big, bright and noticeable. Then, use less text, as children are unlikely to read through complex content.

If a menu interaction process requires the inclusion of many options, divide it into several steps. Then, guide the young user through each step.

Add a Rewards and Recognition Element in the Game

Kids are more enthusiastic when the game recognizes or rewards them for their achievements. Rewards and recognition have a positive impact on a person’s self-esteem, so consider adding these elements into your mobile app. If a child, for instance, taps on the right answer, display a smiley face or play an applause sound to keep them happy and engaged with the game.

Avoid Tricking Children into Purchasing Stuff

When designing a game for the little ones, keep advertisements out of the mobile apps, as their young minds may not be ready to process ads. Also, don’t sell “game features” through the app. Parents will get annoyed if you trick kids into clicking a banner ad or buying an upgrade without the user knowing it.

Keep Adults in Mind When Designing a Game

Kids can’t purchase mobile apps by themselves. They have to ask for the permission of their parents. When developing a game app for children, make sure the app is something that parents will like. You could, for instance, gather feedback from parents when designing your game. Proactively seeking out opinions from diverse groups of people will enable you to come up with a mobile app that’s great for kids and parents.

Test Your Mobile App Before Releasing It to the Market

Testing is a vital stage in the app development process. An effective way to evaluate the game is to conduct usability testing. Developers can involve kids, their friends and primary school teachers to test their product.

Designing a mobile app for children won’t be a walk in the park. By taking note of these eight suggestions, you can create an app that hones your game development skills and influences a child’s life for the better.

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