If Designing Websites For Children…
Every website is designed with keeping the target audience in mind and when designing for kids, the criterion is no exception.
The main thing that you need to keep in mind while progressing the designing project, is the age and gender of kids. For instance; if designing a website for children aged between 7 to 12 , you would see that the young boys don’t like to read much whereas tween girls are often find using Twitter to Tweet updates. Whomsoever is the audience of the site, keep the content of the site simple and easily readable. The 12-year-olds are not familiar with wordplay and may find hidden content on the website annoying.
Their main driver that takes them to the site again and again is presence of lots of online games. Children in 7-10 years of age often prefer characters of their favorite cartoons or TV-shows on the site, and that also work as ‘navigate in’ by them on the site. The site having kids as their target audience should be made inspirational and have to the point navigation with one-word call to action, that would appeal older teens and ensure that younger ones aren’t lost.
The main part of a website is its content. Therefore, it is very important to include the content that is readable by the younger group and within their reach. If we keep one main navigation for children to go from one place to another on the site, the understanding level of a 7 year old will differ from that of 12-year-old. Therefore, using images and character-based navigation to offer children a variety of ways to navigate is very very important.
Several ways to navigate a site is more user-friendly rather than having a site with one main navigation because there is no consensus on how kids predominantly find content. As some prefer image of characters for navigation, some like to scroll to the bottom, while some others go straight for the word ‘game/games’ on the navigation bar or anywhere on the homepage. Also, when search option is used on the website, kids use it as the main way to reach to their destination page.
Also, keep the website simple and free from unnecessary elements like rotating or slideshow images that children has no idea about them how to click through to find other images and content on the site. Kids of this age group may be adept to using mouse and clicking right wherever they want to but it is still preferred to make the arrow keys clear and visible. Or better way is to make the arrow key visibly large to be clearly seen by smaller ones and is clickable by them. Kids over seven are enough web savvy to know where to click and when to use back button but if there are several options/tabs available on the website, they may get confused.
Kids, just like teenager and adults, are very well familiar with using Google and YouTube. YouTube’s insightful ‘related content’ is easily understood by kids and they easily navigate through such highly engaging site. Using the similar technique and model, you can also introduce links to ‘related content’ across their favourite games, clips and shows sections.
Article written by Kabir Bedi, guest author.