Karina Ibarra, a developer of children’s applications, has written an article for UX Magazine offering advice for anyone designing an app for kids. She points out that designing apps for children, especially young children, is different from designing apps for adults, and she’s noticed lots of design flaws in other apps intended for kids.
Ibarra suggests that a home screen is unnecessary for small children, and that it’s preferable if the app launches right away when loaded. For children over the age of three, a simple home screen is acceptable, but buttons should be limited to three or four. The settings buttons, says Ibarra, are often tapped accidentally and so the settings menu should be moved to the device settings panel. As it’s usually parents who change the settings, it’s intrusive and unnecessary to have the menu on the main screen.
If the app is aimed at kids between the ages of one and three, Ibarra suggests that images and text be big, as children are drawn to large objects. For older children, include some challenges, as this is key to their enjoyment. In addition, praise for getting things right is essential to prevent kids from getting bored – positive reinforcement is important.
Check out the article here for more things to be aware of when designing children’s applications: http://uxmag.com/articles/designing-apps-for-kids.