How to Make Apps for Children: Tips for Developing, Designing and Monetizing
Millions of kids use mobile devices for games and entertainment every day. Though children rarely buy apps themselves, this audience represents a vast market segment and has a high profit potential for developers and business.
Technological progress is ongoing, and the days when a child received all his/her information from books and TV are long gone. Nowadays, kids have grown up in the era of social networks and mobile apps, and they are used to absorbing content from smartphones. So why not help them with this by creating really cool products?
In this article, we will talk about this niche and give practical advice to those of you who are seriously interested in developing mobile apps for kids.
Target Audience Features: Who Is the User?
Identifying the target audience is not an easy task. For those of you developing apps for kids, it can turn into a real trap. To avoid problems caused by incorrect positioning and marketing, you need to have answers to two important questions:
- What is the target age range for your app?
- Who will make a decision regarding its installation – child or parents?
Regarding age, we can say that from the age of 4 and up, most children use mobile apps quite consciously and can easily install them on the device. Up to this age, also, in the case of paid products, the decision to install is primarily made by parents.
In general, in the age range “from” and “to” you have to put in no more than 2-3 years. Unlike adults, kids grow much faster, and their priorities change dynamically too.
At the stage of concept formation, you have to forget about technologies. The idea itself is much more important than the tools for its implementation.
There are no problems with this nowadays. Just watch kids and the way they interact with each other, what attracts their attention, and what they are not interested in at all.
Apps for Kids’ Basic Types
The market of mobile apps for kids is replete and diverse. In addition to the age division, there are three main types to be distinguished:
- Game apps – these are downloaded primarily for fun. The main task for the developer when creating such an app is to create an interesting script that would be fascinating enough to attract kids’ attention.
- Educational apps – are especially relevant for preschoolers, for example. These are products focused on teaching reading and arithmetic.
- Apps for creativity – various development programs that allow you to create and do arts and crafts, such as paint, color pictures, build something, etc. These are very popular with parents who are interested in their child’s development.
The popularity of games is not surprising, but it’s more complicated with other app types. The biggest challenge is the lack of quality content because development requires specialists from different fields. This and other aspects will be considered further.
Tips for Designing Mobile Apps for Children
Design is of great importance for any app, and if your target audience is kids, it’s hard to overestimate its importance. In this case, it is better to make everything brighter.
The initial screen is the most important when making an impression on audience, so you need to make the screensaver bright, colorful, and attractive.
Here’s what the palette of your favorite children’s colors looks like, according to the polls:
Studying top apps for kids in the category you are interested in, you will find that the most successful are made in this color scheme.
As for the interface, the design of good mobile UX elements should be absolutely user-friendly. That is, the clickable interactive interface elements should clearly stand out from the others.
In order to highlight such elements in contrast to others, you can use a few simple design tricks:
- shadow effects;
- color contours;
- background dimming, and so on.
Even a fairly simple interface will be of interest to the child, if it has the right color scheme and contains a number of bright and interesting elements.
Menu, Icons and Navigation
Thinking over a good navigation is not an easy task. Kids aim to touch everything that attracts their attention and if the navigation is difficult, they can easily get confused in the programming interface. You can avoid this by using the full-screen menu, which simplifies access to various sections.
Display buttons should be big and noticeable, and icons should be bright. Add more images and use less text, because it is likely that many users will simply not be able to read the complex text.
If some menu interaction process needs to include many options, you can divide it into several steps which you need to go through step by step.
Click and swipe are the most natural and simple interactions for a child. This should be remembered in the process of designing ways for interaction with your future product.
Animation and Sound
Animation is beautiful and spectacular, but you need to understand that if you decide to use it in the app, then you will have to introduce animation everywhere, because static elements will look boring in the background of animated ones.
Animation can be used to provide feedback when the interface element reacts to user interaction in a certain way. This may look particularly interesting in combination with sound effects. For example:
- sound of falling coins when completing the next game level;
- a character who dances to music when the user gives the correct answer in a quiz;
- tooltips that help app understanding.
Sounds, such as applause or cheerful exclamations, can also be used as tool to stimulate kids to continue playing the game. Children always react to music positively, and if there is such an opportunity, so it’s worth using it in the app.
Mobile app testing is an important part of the development cycle. This is also important because a child’s motor skills are not as good as those of adults, so a child cannot interact with the app as effectively as an adult.
Usability testing is as important for developers as for designers, who can learn something completely unexpected about the interaction of kids with the interface they designed.
It’s great if you can test the product on a real target audience. To do this, you can involve your own children, your friends’ kids, etc. You can also involve primary school teachers and other specialized professionals in counseling.
Testing the app’s usability should be performed at all stages of its development. After all, what seems entirely understandable to you may appear to be not so clear for others. The reaction to certain interactive elements may be different from what you expected.
How App Developers Can Make Money from Children’s Apps
Whatever the motivation of product developers, the app’s monetization is still of great importance. It is difficult to attract specialists for developing or creating high-quality content if there is insufficient funding. But the combination of advanced tools and technologies with a reliable business model can provide stunning results.
There are three main models of kids’ apps monetization:
- You pay only once when downloading app;
- Freemium model (Free-To-Play), which is when the app itself is free, but you can buy additional features or levels;
- A subscription model that provides monthly payments or one has to pay for a certain period, such as a year.
The first and third monetization methods are more preferable than option 2, since the decision to purchase should be taken by parents and trying to sell something to kids through the app is a bad idea.
Also, there is the option of banner advertising. However, this is the worst way to monetize kids’ apps because children would click on the banner all the time and move from the app to some third-party sites. Parents will get annoyed and they can simply remove such a product from the device.
If you want to implement the in-app purchases option, you need to make it require parent confirmation. This will solve the problem of uncontrolled children’s purchases.
Kids Love Achievements
Any child is enthusiastic about rewards and praise. Moreover, it has a positive effect on the self-esteem. A simple sound of applause or a joyful smiley face is enough to make a child happy and cause interest in further interaction with the app.
Kids value recognition as well as adults. They are excited and happy when they receive positive reinforcement after solving puzzles and challenging tasks. As a developer, you should remember this in order to keep them involved and motivated.
A Few More Tips
We are sure that all the above written will be useful in the process of creating great products. Here are a number of tips that are difficult to attribute to any particular development stage, but may be useful for you:
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with design and color schemes;
- Feedback and tips are especially important, so you need to make them as clear as possible without using text;
- Create apps that not only make kids busy, but also educate them by developing various talents and decision-making skills;
- Create scenarios that will make kids enjoy exploration and immersion in the process;
- Concerning educational apps and games, don’t make them too simple because kids love to overcome difficulties. At the same time, do not forget to encourage them for achievements;
- Your app should impress not only kids, but also their parents, as they often make the decision to install or purchase the app.
One more thing – provide your apps with built-in analytics to monitor their use by the audience. This is not only extremely interesting, but it can also help in the future to make right decisions for a product further development.
In conclusion, a good mobile app for kids should meet the following criteria:
- have a bright and colorful design;
- be as simple as possible to understand;
- be fully voiced: background music, game sounds, voice prompts;
- contain interactive elements and animation;
- boost child development;
- contain no built-in advertising and child-controlled purchases.
Apps for kids help designers and developers to make a huge impact on future generations. Therefore, it is necessary to take responsibility for the creation of such products. This can be a difficult, but at the same time, incredibly interesting challenge!
The market is huge, since there are millions of kids in the world who use smartphones for games and training. And more importantly, millions of parents who want to help them in this.
If you have an interesting idea for creating an app in this niche, and you want to try it – start working in this direction today.
Write to us and we will be happy to help you bring your ideas to life!
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