Designing a User Experience for Kids

by UX Blog Team

Designing a good website user experience for kids can be tough. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about developing user experience for kids.

Consider Their Age

The term ‘kid’ typically applies to someone who’s in grade school (but also younger than 12 or 13). So, the general range you’ll be working with will likely be ages 6-12.

Since children develop and learn so rapidly, these ages will need to be further segmented to ensure that your UX has the best design possible. For example, someone in kindergarten is going to have different interests and levels of comprehension than someone in the fourth grade.

Let’s take a look at what you can expect from two age ranges.

6 to 9 years Old

Children of these ages display a rapidly-growing vocabulary and are beginning to understand concepts and writing on a more complex level. Since they’re still so young, though, they’re often more interested in sounds, colors, symbols, etc. when browsing online.

10 to 12 Years Old

As these children progress toward the end of elementary school (and perhaps even enter middle school), their reading comprehension and level of basic understanding will progress even further. At this age, copy becomes more relevant as opposed to colors or symbols.

They’ll also be able to navigate through a website efficiently and are often familiarized with touchscreen, interface patterns, etc.

Designing The User Experience

Regardless of how old your audience is, there’s a handful of concepts that you’ll want to focus on when designing your website. It’s important to note, though, that the level of efficacy will often vary depending on your audience’s personality traits.

For example, those who are heavily interested in sports will likely respond in a different way than a child who is more introverted and has an interest in science fiction.

Let’s dive into what you should focus on.

Color Choice

Brushing up on basic color theory can go a long way in helping you choose the perfect color palette for your website. While it’s important to choose a set of colors that are aesthetically pleasing together, they should also embody the energy your brand seeks to deliver.

For example, let’s take the aforementioned child interested in sports (Child A) and one interest in science fiction (Child B).

A website that Child A might visit could be one of a coach who offers private training sessions for soccer. Given soccer’s quick pace and the lush colors one typically sees at a soccer field (green grass and blue sky), bright and energetic colors are more appropriate here.

This means hues like lime green, sky blue, and even reds/yellows/oranges.

Child B, on the other hand, may find themselves on a website for an online game or one that has content about books, movies, etc. of the genre.

These experiences come at a far slower pace than soccer (storytelling, reading in general, etc.), so your color palette should include things like navy blue, black, purple, and other colors that are naturally associated with calmness or darkness.

Functionality and Aesthetic Design

How easily your audience is able to use and navigate through your site is often correlated with how old they are.

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to incorporate less-complicated design choices when targeting children of a younger age. This means that children aged 6 to 9 will likely be overwhelmed by an abundance of links, large chunks of copy, etc.

Rather than links, clickable buttons are a great way to help a younger child find their way around your site’s layout.

By contrast, older kids are more likely to read copy, click links, and have an overall easier time going through your site’s pages. They’re still unlikely, though, to read anything related to how your company functions.

This means pages that discuss your mission statement or your company’s background should be kept separate from the content you want your audience to focus on.

In terms of aesthetics, a minimalist approach should be taken in order to eliminate any distractions. Removing unnecessary fluff and having a streamlined layout will go a long way when it comes to user experience.

The Text

Younger children will respond much better to short sentences with larger text as opposed to the formatting you’d find on a typical web page. Those on the upper end of your audience’s age range likely won’t have issues with reading regular copy.

Incorporating pictures, though, (especially as a method to supplement a difficult concept) is a reliable strategy no matter how old your audience is. As you may expect, younger children will often respond better to more images vs. text.

Your vocabulary and sentence complexity should also coincide with your audience’s age, as it can be very easier for a younger child to feel lost or an older child to feel as though your site is ‘too easy’ for them.

Creating ‘How-To’ sections on your site’s pages is also a reliable way to ensure your audience doesn’t run into any issues. Things like downloading, printing, or uploading are often difficult for those who haven’t done them before.

Optimizing User Experience For Kids on Your Site Can Seem Difficult

But it doesn’t have to be.

With the above information about user experience for kids in mind, you’ll be well on your way toward ensuring your younger users are able to find everything they need.

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