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Designing apps for children

Best practices guide to create an educational app for children. This keynote will help you to understand how to create an usable app for kids.

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Designing
Mobile
Apps
For
Children
Before you start...
• This best practices guide will help you to create
an app according how children use mobile
devices and to optimize their learning through
the user experience.
• Check the Common Core Standards webpage to
know which are the competencies that children
can learn with your app and ask an educator the
best way to teach it, his/her feedback it’s really
important to improve your app.
Creating UI
• An app for children is not like an app for adults, just
keep it as simple as possible, without elements that
can disturb their learning. On the other hand, children
normally use the device in landscape view, try to
design your app according to it.
• The main menu should be visual, easy to use and
categorized. If the app has more than one game, they
should be together. Buttons should be visual distinct,
so children have to know they are interactive.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before you begin to code or to design
your app, create the mockups of the interfaces.
• Explicit gameplay goal is
necessary for children
so they can understand
at the beginning what
they should do in an
easy way.
• Normally children hold
the device with both
hands, so be careful with
the corners because
children can press
buttons accidentally.
Creating UI
Colors & Animations
Vividly colors and
animated elements will
help to attract children
attention, but also can
distract them if they
need to focus on an
activity.
Interactions
• Touch: The most simple gesture for children.
• Drag: Drag an object to another position.
• Slide: Similar to the last one but used to scroll or
turn a page.
There are a lot of gestures to interact with an app but here
you will find the most simple and intuitive for children:
To show that an element is interactive it can be highlighted or it
can shake, so children know there is something to do with that.
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Designing apps for children

  • 2. Before you start... • This best practices guide will help you to create an app according how children use mobile devices and to optimize their learning through the user experience. • Check the Common Core Standards webpage to know which are the competencies that children can learn with your app and ask an educator the best way to teach it, his/her feedback it’s really important to improve your app.
  • 3. Creating UI • An app for children is not like an app for adults, just keep it as simple as possible, without elements that can disturb their learning. On the other hand, children normally use the device in landscape view, try to design your app according to it. • The main menu should be visual, easy to use and categorized. If the app has more than one game, they should be together. Buttons should be visual distinct, so children have to know they are interactive. IMPORTANT NOTE: Before you begin to code or to design your app, create the mockups of the interfaces.
  • 4. • Explicit gameplay goal is necessary for children so they can understand at the beginning what they should do in an easy way. • Normally children hold the device with both hands, so be careful with the corners because children can press buttons accidentally. Creating UI
  • 5. Colors & Animations Vividly colors and animated elements will help to attract children attention, but also can distract them if they need to focus on an activity.
  • 6. Interactions • Touch: The most simple gesture for children. • Drag: Drag an object to another position. • Slide: Similar to the last one but used to scroll or turn a page. There are a lot of gestures to interact with an app but here you will find the most simple and intuitive for children: To show that an element is interactive it can be highlighted or it can shake, so children know there is something to do with that.
  • 7. Text • On the other hand, highlighting word by word meanwhile the voice is reading the story will help children to identify the text. • Be careful with the typo you choose for your app, normally I suggest Sassoon Primary but other good options are Gill Sans Infant or Plantin Infant.
  • 8. Tutorial • Before starting to play, a tutorial will be a good way to show children how the game works. • This tutorial can be a video, an animation or an easy level .
  • 9. Instructions • When children begin to play, they need visual and audio instructions to understand what they have to do. • It’s important to keep it simple and clear and repeat the instructions if they make a mistake or don’t answer in 5-7 seconds.
  • 10. Sounds • Background music: It can create engagement and encourage children to play but you should choose the music carefully so it should not distract them. • Sound effects: It will help to give feedback or a way to interact with objects. • Voices: Voices can be used to guide children through the game, tell a story or give them feedback.
  • 11. Feedback • Positive Feedback: Congratulate the child, this will keep him motivated, also you can use it to reinforce learning like: “Well played! This is the blue color!” • Negative Feedback: If the child makes a mistake, give him a feedback to encourage him to keep trying without saying that his answer was wrong or he doesn’t know the answer: “You were close! Try again!”. Also you can give him a clue to help him. It’s important for learning that children have a feedback when they make a mistake or pass the game.
  • 12. Levels • First of all, you have to keep in mind that not all children learn at the same speed, so it’s important to have different levels on each game. • The best way to manage this is adapting the level to the skills of each child so they can learn at their own pace.
  • 13. Parent Dashboard • Keep parents informed about why your app is good for their children. • You can show them information regarding their children progress or what values have your app for them. • Be sure to include a parental gate to access.
  • 14. Measure • Use analytical tools to know the behavior of children and how to optimize your app like Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Game Analytics or Flurry. Measure, modify and optimize! • A Learning Analytics platform like EnderMetrics will help you also to improve the learning.
  • 15. Useful links • http://www.sesameworkshop.org/ • http://lilymedia.cc/blog/ • http://www.corestandards.org • http://endermetrics.com • http://digitalmediadiet.com/?p=721
  • 16. ¡Thank you! Judit Villarte CEO and Co-Founder at EnderMetrics info@endermetrics.com