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“Ma, please pass me the phone once you’re done with the Zoom meeting.”
David, all of 6 years old, is always waiting to get his hands on the mobile. After all, his “friends” and favorite characters live there. Mobile apps have become his make-believe world. He loves retreating into these colorful, animated spaces that make him laugh, play and learn.
App development for kids is nothing like creating apps for the rest of the population. Developers of children’s mobile apps are always on the edge. They know that they’re not working with the “usual” target audience. As children have different behavior, expectations, emotions, and attitude, their apps have to be designed and marketed differently.
Millenia kids, regardless of their age, are well-versed with the norms of today’s technology-ridden world. They click and swipe on their favorite apps like pros. On the flip side, the applications that don’t match up to their expectations are installed and uninstalled in a jiffy.
Even the smartest users require assistance while starting on new mobile apps. Therefore, the design, interface, background score, loading time, and all other features of kids’ mobile apps require unique development strategies.
Factors That Aid Successful App Development for Kids
1. Looks Matter – Make the App Alluring and Interesting
A vibrant, fun-packed and friendly façade affects the successful making of kids’ mobile applications.
- Applications that impart education or entertainment should have strong concepts of gamification at their core.
- The overall look should encourage kids to install the app and understand its features on their own.
- A playful environment encourages kids to learn from the app with deep and ongoing interest. For example, puzzles and games can be designed around basic coding concepts and algorithms for kids aged 3-6 years.
2. Know the Physical and Mental Age of Target Audience
Age has a critical role to play when you’re developing an app for kids. Finding what your target market can understand and imbibe is a critical step in your business strategy. A 2-year-old child will have a different intellect level than a 10-year-old school-going kid. Do move forward only after understanding who’ll actually like the product and download / buy it.
3 – 5 years:
- In this age group, toddlers get attracted to music, colors, rhymes, easy engagements, and fun-filled activities.
- Strive to work with the brighter end of the palette when developing apps for preschoolers and toddlers.
- Choose animals, fruits, shapes, flowers and other easy to color designs to keep users connected to your app.
5 – 10 years:
- Children are exposed to different apps through friends, peers and teachers in this age group. They expect challenging learning activities coupled with fun in the apps of their choice.
- Try introducing core learning concepts through activities like grocery shopping, planting, seaside vacations, etc. Mathematical tables and easy code snippets can be used for imparting knowledge in mobile apps for preschool kids.
10 – 15 years:
- Visual impact remains to be a critical factor of consideration in mobile applications for teenagers and older children.
- Users look for educational stuff to complement their classroom education. Easy-to-learn modules, games with customizable rules, scope for online engagements with other users, etc. can make these apps more exciting for kids.
The idea is to develop an app for kids that lures any age group to explore, learn, and experiment with novel user experiences. Something attractive and creative, yet unique and challenging, will click with your audience. If you ignore this step, you may end up getting lesser returns for your potentially successful mobile app ideas.
3. Underline the Need for Downloading the Application
To combat boredom
Most kids reach out for phones, tablets and other mobile devices when they are bored. For example, due to bad weather, kids cannot go down and play and are sick of studying all the time – sound solace lies for them in mobile apps. Identify the kids’ dire needs and develop your apps to kill their boredom.
Once your audience starts enjoying your creativity and design, they’ll not go elsewhere!
As an educational aid
Be it for pre-school or high school goers, there’s no dearth of learning apps that mix education with fun. The most popular ones are making millions and are downloaded every second.
For example, Epic! has over 35,000 books for children and is an interesting e-book library app for kids. Quick Math Jr. presents 12 different mathematics games with fundamental math concepts and skills. You may want to consider similar lines of interest while developing your mobile apps for kids.
4. What About Parents, Teachers and Other Decision Makers?
Consider the audience before you start developing apps for kids. The following questions can help you find the way forward:
- Who will download the apps? Kids or parents?
- Who will check for and recommend these apps on the App Store or Play Store – teachers, parents, friends, or the end users themselves?
- Who will make the final decision on your apps?
The Technology Aspect: What Goes into Developing a Good App for Kids?
1. UI/UX Design and Algorithms
Remember, the first impression is much more than the last impression when it comes to designing apps for kids.
Focus on an alluring and eye-catching UX (user experience) / UI (user interface) design. For example, bright and pretty colors in the user interface attract toddlers while creativity lures teenagers. Don’t forget the person who will download the app, he or she may have an altogether different UI preference, take care!
In order to include unique user experience (UX) in the kids’ mobile app developed by you:
- The app should not lag or break down midway to disappoint the child.
- Adaptability to the app environment is a criterion for preschoolers or teens.
- Choose easy-to-navigate links and buttons.
- Parents and other influencers should find it easy to share the app on social media.
- Use very easy instructions and language.
- Include interactive gestures, engaging emoticons, etc.
Overall, aim for increasing downloads and reviews. Try to put your best foot forward to outsmart rival apps.
2. Mobile Operating Systems – iOS, Android, and Windows
Gain understanding of the commonly used mobile operating systems in use by your target audience. Your app should be compatible with and supported by iOS, Windows, and popular operating platforms to enjoy more visibility.
3. Internet Security and Firewalls for Kids
Parents tend to install firewalls on their mobiles to protect their devices and block outsiders from any unauthorized access. Firewalls are also important for blocking malicious software and providing different types of protection for kids. Ensure that your development modules include checks for all Internet security options and firewalls. This is for the good of all.
4. Push Notifications
Push notifications enhance user experiences and increase engagements. As a marketer or developer of kids’ mobile apps, it’s important for you to integrate push notifications effectively in applications for kids. For success, ensure that push messages are easy to understand. They should be relevant to users and targeted only to the right audience.
You may want to dig deeper into the behavior of your app users to share more meaningful content. For example, bifurcate those who download your app on the basis of age and behavior before planning your push notification strategies.
5. User Feedback
User feedback, especially those from parents and older children, can help in understanding what other features to add in your apps as you develop them for kids.
You will also get to know what features are not clicking with users. Use feedback judiciously to get rid of them. It’s important to take care of user response and reviews and add them to your marketing plans.
It’s equally critical that you take care of feedback in directing your development efforts. You may want to create a user account in your mobile app to email surveys and other promotional programs, search for users on social media, etc.
Developing an Engaging Mobile Application for Kids
Your application should have an easy to adapt interface. Children are amateur in gamification and will struggle to use the interface if it’s too complicated or crowded. Always remember that they’re likely to switch to other mobile applications if they fail to enjoy the app at the first few instances.
Kids, especially the younger ones or those with a comparatively lower know-how, should find your app easy to use and learn. Difficult languages, tough navigation, or an overdose of information will leave them burdened and bored.
3. Strength of the App
The application developed by you should be strong enough to face all scenarios. It should be resilient enough not break down anytime, anywhere. A strong and smooth-running app will keep kids engaged and not allow them to move elsewhere. That’s what you want, right?
4. Quotient of Attractiveness
Gamification is the key to success. If you are developing an education app, try to serve information and knowledge lessons through attractive games. Keeping users interested should be your main aim. This is possible only if you are committed to providing the best user experiences.
More Points to Consider Before Developing Apps for Kids
Going forward, you may want to consider these extra pointers for a successful mobile app development for kids.
- Children competing with bots and other players to create a more compelling games environment.
- Developing a friendly, interactive and action-packed interface that promises hours of entertainment or learning.
- Dexterous use of sound and visuals, along with relatable characters, to keep user interest intact.
App development for kids is no child’s play. It’s a mammoth task that requires careful planning, a lot of research, strong development capabilities, and proper execution. The behavioral and purchase patterns of kids and their influencers have to be kept in mind at all times. Once the app is ready, the different aspects of psychographics of kids have to be considered to serve your purpose on App and Play Stores.
Remember, you are dealing with a tech-savvy generation of children who can be highly demanding and persuasive – just like David. He is on a mission to master the highest level of his favorite gaming app. The next challenge thrown to him could be from your end.