(This was originally written for my old social media blog buzznetworker.com.)
I have seen a lot of people designing blog pages recently that were targeted for kids or subjects that kids might be interested in. There has been a rise in webkinz and other subject specific blogs that kids would be interested in. One of the things that I find funny about some of these sites is how unusable they are for kids.
Kids don’t have the motor skills that adults have when it comes to clicking on objects and working the mouse. You need to keep that in mind when designing various websites and applications. Also how your search functions will impact the usability, children and young adults don’t have the same thought process as adults do. Spelling, keyword usage, and overall logic isn’t going to match up with adults, this needs to be taken into consideration.
In a fellow students presentation on this subject they had a great quote that sums up what should be the mindset of the designer.
“Designers . . . must strike a balance between a plain and unimaginative but functional design on the one hand, and a gratuitously colorful and animated design that makes it both narrowly age specific and potentially distracting from its primary purpose: information retrieval.” –Andrew Large & Jamshid Beheshti
The design principles you need to use vary greatly compared to that of an adult.
Large amounts of graphics, metaphorical approaches, and forgiving search strings are all keys to designing with children in mind.