Technology has become so integral to our society that it now reaches nearly every aspect of life, starting at birth. Young children are exposed to amazing technology as soon as they can comprehend it, so what they experience via that technology will have a drastic impact on their development. When you want to design a website for kids, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. The creation of a children’s website is quite different from that of a typical website. There are great examples of websites for kids online, and more will come as the younger generations demand them. Below is a brief guide to the most common practices to utilize when designing a website for kids.
Use Large Designs
It’s much easier for a child to focus on larger images, menus, letters, and other web elements. This technique is already used in common web design, but exaggerating the sizes for kids will increase the interaction and promote recognition.
Add Bright Colors
People of all ages respond to color, but that’s much more true in children. Vivid colors hold the attention of children, and taking advantage of uncommon color combinations can create a memorable experience for any child. Flashy colors that have no other application will be right at home on a kid’s website. The additional stimulation promotes the development of all young minds.
Stimulate the Senses
Imagery that instills a sense of happiness can be powerful to a child. By properly stimulating the child’s attention through positive, happy images and by incorporating elements from nature, a designer can create an experience that many children will want to return to time and time again. Children respond well to natural things from the world around them that are easily recognizable, like trees, grass, rocks, snow, and animals.
Depth and Animation
Adding a 3D element to your website design can further stimulate a child’s mind. Since the world around them has depth, children respond to images that have a clear mirror in reality. These effects are easily achievable by incorporating landscapes, beveled images, and shadows. The website should represent a window into a new world for the child.
Additionally, using animation can add another level of realism. By creating animated characters that speak and guide children through the site, you can further stimulate the child’s imagination.
Make Actionable Areas Clear
While this is a generically good idea for website design, it’s especially relevant in the creation of a children’s website. In some cases, the combination of animation into the navigation areas can drastically affect the usability of those areas. Make these control areas as well defined as possible so children can easily find and use them. Inconspicuous control elements will almost certainly be overlooked.
Getting a child to interact with your design is the overall goal, because websites that aren’t engaging won’t hold an audience. Video elements have famously captivated child audiences for decades through television, and the same idea can be applied to website construction. These video elements can be fun, educational, and they can keep a child’s mind occupied.
Children need to be entertained, and giving them something fun to interact with is a great way to stimulate growth and development. We’ve already discussed adding animation and sounds, but incorporating those elements into something that the child can interact with or has control over, like a game or drawing app, will only serve to make those techniques all the more effective.
Go Off Grid
Many website designers take advantage of preset grid patterns that display website navigation and content in predictable ways, even when exaggerated with vivid colors and other typical components of a kid’s website. The design of a site that doesn’t use a typical grid system will not only be entirely unique, but it will be memorable as a stand-alone entity.
If you choose to go off grid, be sure to include all the same critical elements that can be found on a gridded site. It might be tempting to create something exceptionally unusual, but it still must be able to hold the attention of a child, which requires at least moderate structure.
Add Printable Options
Kids love to create, and they love to show off their creations. When you add the ability to print the creations they produce on your site, they instantly gain a specific reason to visit again. This is especially useful if you plan to incorporate some sort of art application into your site for children.
Change the Cursor
When you design a website for kids, it usually has a specific theme that is readily obvious. You can change the cursor to better match this theme, and kids will definitely take notice. The cursor is the child’s primary method of interaction with the website, so changing it to a more animated, almost cartoony object can add a flare of detail that many websites overlook.
Test and Update
Real world testing is one of the few ways to gain the feedback you’ll need to perfect your site. A website for kids must be constantly updated with new content in order to remain relevant, and one of the best methods for deciding what to update is by listening to what your users tell you. Make your decisions on what to modify and update by what you hear.
The subtleties involved with designing a website for kids can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’ve never created one before. This list only comprises a small portion of the possible techniques necessary for producing the most interactive, memorable website imaginable. If you wish to get inspiration for your own site, you can visit any number of active children’s websites to see how they are laid out, and what sort of functionality they utilize. Remember, the most important factors are memorability, interaction, and positivity. As long as you focus on those areas, you should have no problem creating an amazing website for kids.