The Kid’s App: The Essentials

Whether you’re a parent, a child carer, an app developer or just somebody that is interested in technology we’re certain you’re well aware of the following, the kid’s app is on the rise! The reason for this could be whittled down into a broad range of social/personal factors, yet there’s two that particularly stand out; the rise in smart devices and the deterioration of the stigma attached to letting children integrate with them.

With there being so much choice on various app stores it’s now a crucial time for both app developers and parents to start constructing and selecting their apps wisely. It may seem that a child will interact with anything that is submerged in more colours than the rainbow, and this is probably true, but there needs to be an aim behind the download (especially if you’ve paid for it!). We take a look below at the objectives that should be deliberated by developers and parents alike.

Location

Most children’s apps are designed to occupy them whilst they’re at home or at school. This means that the content of the app should therefore reflect the purpose of the child being in that location at that particular time. It’s perfectly acceptable for a parent to want to slightly extend ‘learning time’ outside of school hours, yet the content shouldn’t direclty mirror the content type used in lessons. The reason for this being that you could be running the risk of the child losing interest in the app all together, deriving it away from its original purpose.

It’s all about getting the balance right, and one of the key responsibilities for a parent (one of many!) is to determine and specify when a child’s playtime and ‘learning time’ are, with the app being there to reinforce your decision.

Look & Feel

The aesthetics of the app should be fun and easy on the eye, yet not messy. With children’s apps it’s easy to think that a lot of colours and clickable icons will do, but do they serve a helpful purpose? The app must have a clear start and finish which can be navigated via basic manoeuvrability and children must be able to determine objects along the way for learning purposes.

Needless to say the look and feel also has to cater to the age group that you’re serving too.

Purpose

The app needs to serve a variety of purposes; to engage, challenge and reward. Children shouldn’t really be encouraged to engage with smart devices and apps throughout the entire day, so the time spent on them should be done so efficiently.

Engaging/Enticing

The chances are if a child isn’t automatically transfixed on a toy/game/device it just isn’t going to work out. As mentioned above the aesthetics need to captivate him or her and then guide them through a story where an end product is permanently in sight. Storytelling is an important skill for parents to teach and for kids to place themselves in to, and this is something that can be facilitated by a gripping app.

Challenging

We’re not saying that an app should make a child’s head hurt, but a slight challenge will benefit them mentally. Whether it’s a game of pairs or asking them to solve basic mathematic equations an app of this nature will keep them engaged, entertained and informed.

Plus it will also keep you amused…

Rewarding

Make sure there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and that the child is rewarded for their efforts both visually and in person. Token gestures in the app such as a gold star or a thumbs up will encourage the child to want to learn more, which can only be a good thing…

It’s also crucial that you participate in rewarding them for their hard work and not leave it entirely down to the app.