These days more and more parents are choosing to expose their kids to technology, mobile phones and apps at a much younger age than ever before. With this knowledge in mind, mobile app developers have been developing apps with young users in mind.
A developement company looking to create a mobile app for kids must approach things differently from an adult-centric app. In order for a kid’s app to be successful the developer must see things from a child’s perspective and cater to their specific wants and needs. We engaged some of our top developers to get their take on designing and developing mobile apps for kids.
The UX and UI in a mobile app for kids
It’s a no brainer, kids interact with apps differently from adults. When developing UX or UI for a kids app, developers must throwaway any preconceived notions that they were used to dealing with in adult apps.
For starters the UI must be that much more intuitive for children. You cannot expect a kid with little experience using technology or interacting with much of the world in general, to all of a sudden pickup a mobile device, open any old app and start using it flawlessly. On the UX front, developers must constantly struggle with retaining a child’s ever wandering attention. Kids are curious by nature. They are as curious about apps features as they are with the bird flying outside, or the cardboard box in the other room.
User experience and user interface are a critical part of a kids app. The designers have to emulate the kind of experience a child gets while playing with real toys. A kid app should be able to capture the attention of a kid and the kids should be able to interact easily with the app. The pixels shall be colored and designed in keeping the experience focused on how kids' eyes like them more.
UX and UI are very important when it comes to apps for kids. An app must be readable to kids. What is vital is a clear menu, text which is big enough and easily understandable and vivid colours. The product should be adapted to a particular age group so that navigation of it is facilitated making the app intuitive and easy in reception for kids.
Designing apps for kids requires an entirely different approach. The main elements of the user interface (UI) must remain constant across all devices. Vibrant colors, interactive elements and animations attract kids. Also, loud sound effects along with large icons and buttons help kids to connect with the app better. Best suited actions in kids apps include swipe, tap and drag and drop.
Clear cues are also important as they help kids to discover what actions they can take such as stretch/squish and pulsating circles emerging from an object. Also, there should be feedback like vibration, animation or any sound effect to let the kids know that they have performed an action. The bottom line is kids are curious, impatient and enthusiastic and while designing an app for them focus should be on making it appealing, easy to use and combined with fun factors.
While targeting apps for kids the UI and UX is the most important factor. Kids love color and they expect their apps to be bright and engaging. Designing interactive elements with a clear characteristic indicates the interactional factors.
Some features are only available in iOS apps, while others make Android mobile apps more suitable and appealing for kids. Which are they? How useful are the features in each platform? Let's see what our developers think about this.
Both platforms are equal when it comes to usage by kids. The benefit of Android over iOS could be the availability of various screen sizes and compatible external hardware devices such as Bluetooth based game controllers and Direct TV Streaming.
Talking in terms of performance of the games; iOS is better as compared to Android.
With Android platform, the monitoring of the app can be performed to gain insights such as what are the kids sharing, how much time they are spending on the app and what is stored on the device. With iOS, it is difficult to find these things. iOS offers a limited set of restrictions like preventing kids from installing or deleting apps or making in-app purchases. Whereas Android can impose limits for phone usage, block individual callers and texters and get reports on how your child is using the phone.
As such, there is no difference in the features of Android and iOS for kids app but the ways to implement various features in both the platforms are different. We can implement a few features in iOS easily but not in Android and viceversa.
For example, while implementing animation in any kids app, for iOS this can be done with less effort and time as there are native methods for implementing this but for Android the mobile app development company has to write the complete code or use third party apps that will take more time and efforts.
Users can also feel a difference in the UI/UX of Android and iOS app because there are many features that are custom build in the iOS but not in Android and in case of kids apps we have to focus on the design that should attract them.
As we know that Android is an open source, developers can implement any feature in an Android app easily but for iOS, Apple has put many restrictions due to which developers have to think before implementing any feature.
The age groups of the apps for kids
While many would lump all sorts of kids apps together, the truth is that a range of apps actually exist within. This range corresponds to the various age groups of children. Understandably, an app for a 5-year old would greatly differ from an app that targets the 12 to 16-year old demographic. Developers must painstakingly adjust their apps to suit the particular age group that they are trying to attract. To help developers and parents alike, regulations and guidelines have been developed by various governing bodies such as the IARC (International Age Rating Coalition) and the European PEGI system.
Apps for children can be divided in terms of age group. App stores, such as Google Play Store use IARC system of age marking. In Europe the PEGI system is used. It was introduced to help European parents make informed choices about an app or a game purchase. The PEGI markings indicate one of the following age groups: 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18. There are three colour markings. The green ones are for 3 – 7 year old children. Games for 12 – 16 olds are orange whereas red colour is reserved for adults.
As we all know that kids grow and change faster than adults so while developing any app for kids, developers must keep in mind the changes and growth of the kids. We can divide the age group into three parts:
This is a great fact that nowadays kids of every age group want to spend more time on smart devices rather than TV or other playing activities. So the main focus of any mobile app development company is to make the application in such a manner that it would serve the ultimate goal of the kids, i.e. an app that should help them in learning while playing on smart devices.
There are primarily 5 groups for kids apps, namely:
There are mainly 4 age groups namely: Kids (0-11), Teenager (12-17), Young Adult (18-25), Adult (25+).
While developing games, our favorite age group would be for kids and teenagers. I believe kids in these age groups are more creative minds and learn things very frequently.
Apps for kids are usually divided into categories based on the age groups where each group is a few years apart. Apps belonging to specific categories suit the specific developmental stages of kids, providing them digitally nutritious content. Broadly there are three age groups: 5 and under, 6 to 8 and 9 to 11. However, these can be further divided and extended like toddler apps, preschool apps, kindergarten apps, primary school apps, middle school apps and high school apps.
Be it any type of categorization, the developers must consider that when the little fingers move over the mobile screens, the apps must work to boost the creative and logical thinking of kids, providing them an effective and fun way of learning things.
What you must to keep in mind for each age group
Age-based app development is crucial to the success of a kids app. Developers must take into account the various tastes, preferences, capabilities and limitations of the age group that they are creating the app for. Apps that fall within the “kids app” category are simultaneously fun and educational. App development companies must be keenly aware of what the users in their chosen age demographic can and cannot comprehend.
Since the interest of each age group is different, they're way to see the world also changes. While designing and developing apps/games for kids; we need to target vivid colors, gamification and interactive elements.
This evolves to use of smooth colors and precision controls when we target apps/games for teenagers and it further turns to clean and crisp interface when developing for Adults.
To develop an idea for different age groups, it requires prototyping and testing the design. Designing for a particular age group requires participatory design. In participatory design, you need to observe how different genders, as well as different ages, interact with your content, functionality, interactions and visual design.
In this design process, the user is placed in the center of research and development where immediate feedback from the user is taken.
Developing a mobile app involves creativity, forward-thinking, and an eye to detail. Before developing an application you should know for whom you are developing the app and the age group. What are they interested in? How do they think?
While developing apps for different age groups one should have to keep in mind many things such as:
Apps for little kids help them explore the world. They must be particularly simple and easy in reception for the little users. Apps for 6–9 year old help the children learn in an out-of-school environment. They facilitate maths comprehension, alphabet memorisation and develop creativity. Such games should educate in a way that is not direct but rather by means of adventures and fun. Games for older children should be more complex. They cannot be too infantile but still they should be more simple than games for adolescents and adults.
It’s important to share app ideas which parents, educators and early childhood development professionals appreciate and look forward to engage with. Keeping in view the mindset of kids belonging to specific groups, the app should be designed to add value to kids development. Consider how kids of different age groups use movement and touch, to present them with great apps for learning, music or gaming.
Some market research always help and discussing with friends and families about what kind of activities they like to engage their kids with is also a great way of getting app ideas. For instance, preschools and kindergarten apps are usually aimed towards providing learning experience through group play and different activities.
Another important factor, irrespective of age groups is fun and the app concept should be well blended with it.
Inappropriate advertisement or in-app purchases: avoinding some business models on apps for kids
For parents, the safety of their child is paramount and developers should keep this in mind when creating apps for kids. Fortunately, almost every major app distributor has some sort of built-in parental control tool that will allow parents to dictate what ads can be shown or what in-app purchases can be made.
iOS system is equipped with in-built tools which limit the mobile’s functions. They enable switching some functions off or limiting the possibility of apps’ installation and removal as well as online app store downloads, which can be achieved by setting a password.
Android offers two possibilities: parent control of apps use or store download can be activated with a password; or a user account with chosen limits can be created for the child.
Smartphones with Windows system can have a special kid corner created, where the child gets acces only to some previously chosen content.
The general solution to it could be using Parental control SDK’s which restrict the items that are shown to kids during game/app. We can also implement certain kid safe check such as age confirmation and simple mathematical calculations (such as 2+3=, 6-2= ).
Apart from this, there are multiple 3rd Party SDK’s which are Kid-Safe mobile advertising solutions. Few of them which we use are Floop and SuperAwesome.
Tools such as AdMob by Google help in the mediation of advertisements with the app. Admob helps in preserving user experience with innovative video ads to keep users engaged. There are various tools to control inappropriate advertisements or in-app purchases which will help in adhering to the business model, letting app owner display ads of specific genre.
This is one of the major points we have to keep in mind while developing an application for kids because inappropriate advertisement can divert their mind towards the wrong direction and in-app purchases will lead to a lot of money loss for the parents. So while developing a kids app we have to incorporate various parental controls to prevent them accessing inappropriate content, advertisements or in-app purchases.
Before downloading any application, we need to enter ID and password and after the password is entered, the default is set for some time. Within that time interval, your children could accidently download hundreds of pounds worth of in-app purchases. To avoid this situation, kids apps must have the option of changing settings where parents can change the required password setting to immediately. Now, whenever your child goes to buy something, whether it is an app or in-app purchase, they’ll be asked to type in the password before they can progress further.
Apple recommends that, for children over 13 years, you should create an individual Apple ID for them to use. By doing this you need not to turn on/off the restrictions again and again moreover you have the option to switch from your Apple ID to your child's ID and vice versa. However, parents must ensure that child's Apple ID has no credit card entered, means there's no money for them to spend.
The best apps for kids
Choosing the “Best of” anything can be difficult at the best of times. So how can anyone create a shortlist of best apps for a category with such a wide range encompassing nearly a dozen demographics. A better way to look at things would be to discuss the characteristics of a high quality.
There are, in fact, many apps for kids that make it to this list. Some of them include DragonBox Algebra 5+, Faces iMake - Right Brain Creativity, Crazy Gears, Marble Math Junior, Shape Arts and Shiny Circus. Selecting the right apps, based on age group and purpose, could benefit kids in great many ways.
The best apps for kids keep their minds active and teach outside the classroom. It is very important for an app to be a way of exploring the world and learning about life, that is why they should entertain, educate and inspire.
Kids lose interest very easily, apps should have specifically eye-catching looks, but at the same time they should be user-friendly. For very young kids one of the best apps is Endless Alphabets. This is a unique, interactive, educational app that teaches kids their ABCs. Another interesting App is Drawnimal (unfortunately only for IOS). The app encourages kids to draw an animal on the iPhone screen on the basis of the letter they have chosen.
For kids aged 6 to 9 there are a lot of popular games, e.g.: Toca Life: Vacation, My Talking Tom. Toca Life is an app that lets kids pretend they're going on holiday. In My Talking Tom, children can adopt a cat and take care of it. Older kids eagerly play Pokémon GO or Minecraft.
It is difficult to name a few apps when the word best is associatad with such question, still listing a few apps that kids love:
So far, we believe the following are the best apps/games for kids:
The best apps for kids in 2016 which encourage learning and creativity are:
The most used features on an app for kids
The features that developers choose to incorporate into their kids apps are what attract youngsters to download and use the app. Kids apps need to be engaging, stimulating, entertaining and educational all at once. Developers must keep this in mind when designing their apps to enhance experience and functionality.
Apps for kids should be educational, creative and exploratory. Apps for very young children are aimed at exploring the world, for example they help to learn names of animals or colors.
Apps for kids aged 6 to 9 often teach alphabet and maths but, above all, they help visit a fantasy-world.
Older kids expect something more than education. They will do exciting things and have an adventure. Application’s features should enable them to experience that and help to discover their passions.
The mobile app market has become very competitive, and only apps with the greatest features and child-friendly design tend to make it to the top. The most used features in apps for kids are:
Certain features are very crucial. Such apps should have simple UI and easy navigation. Use of music and speech are widely preferred and the activities are mostly short, simple and well explained. Also they are more focused on encouraging the kids to apply their critical thinking, creativity and problem solving abilities. Monotonous and mind numbing activities are usually avoided.
Learning apps for kids aim at setting goals which help in learning naturally and playfully. Another important feature is avoiding unwanted distractions like pop ups and social media notifications. These apps also emphasize avoiding too many options that may confuse kids and tend to focus on the central activity.
We believe that these are the most used elements in apps for kids: graphics, animations, characters, music effects. There are various other elements but these would be the essentials for any app for kids.
Virtual Reality and apps for kids
Virtual reality has the potential to elevate the current state of mobile kids apps. It will change the role that the user will play from mostly passive observer with limited amounts of interaction, to one that will be actively interacting with and even modifying their virtual environment. Of course safeguards are needed by mobile app development companies to ensure that children are not exposed to anything that can upset or damage them, but for the most part virtual reality can greatly benefit kids apps in the future.
Virtual reality can be implemented to provide experience tours of a range of different places. VR can be used for providing an immersive gaming experience to the kids. It can also be used for learning and educational purpose to help kids learn about animals, plants, body parts, solar system and a lot more.
As we all know Virtual Reality is the current big innovation in the world of mobile technology. Many businesses and enterprises are moving towards VR technology as it helps them to grow faster. Also, many educational businesses are also moving towards VR technology and can deliver more interactive and enriching learning experience to the kids. If you are into education business, VR apps can make learning more enjoyable for kids bringing a potential opportunity to grow.
With the help of VR technology, we can develop different apps that can help kids learn in the real world. Many education centres are using VR to collaboratively construct architectural models, recreations of historic or natural sites and other spatial renderings. We can also build games for kids with the help of VR.
Virtual Reality should be implemented in games or apps for kids with beautiful colors, kind and interesting characters, like in old cartoons on TV. Humour and entertainment should have equal priority as education. With VR children can do exciting things without the risk of getting hurt. Apps should have adequate PEGI for the user. Young children are fine with being a passive observer on roller coaster rides or flight simulations but older kids want to actively shape virtual worlds “like building a castle”.
Virtual Reality implemented in educational apps for kids can make learning far more interesting. Kids can experience underwater worlds, zoos and historical worlds and can explore things in a way that boosts their thoughts and creativity. Virtual Reality can bring in huge transformation in the teaching style, making it more effective. Kids can step into the scene created by the app developers and can have a better understanding and imagination of the world around them.
VR can also open up new possibilities in gaming apps for kids where multi-player sessions can be created to promote socialization and collaboration among kids. Also, there are kids who find it difficult to communicate or understand things with conventional teaching methods.
VR in kids app can better meet the needs of such kids by offering a different and innovative way of teaching and learning.
Virtual reality gaming is where a person can experience being in a three-dimensional environment and interact with that environment during a game. This is an essential part of the game.
We can use Google Cardboard as a base while developing games for kids. This includes VR libraries and gaming tools combos. We can use Unity Gaming Engine along with Google Cardboard concept to meet the desired needs.
Apps for kids
Our developers are some of the best in the business and their work backs up their claims. Below they detail some of the apps that they produced as well as how they used key features and functionalities to set themselves apart from other apps. One of them hasn't developed any app for kids yet, though the expertise and knowledge shared in this report by the mobile app development company is key to understand how a mobile app for kids should be like.
We are currently working on two educational games for children.
The setting of one of them is Space. The first level consists in an astronaut’s traveling in a rocket through the solar system and its planets and planetoids. In the following levels, the kids travels around some other planetary systems or whole galaxies... Each visit on a planet entails a mission set in that planet’s environment, e.g. the Rings of Saturn or freezing cold of Uranus etc. The missions often consist in collecting things such as mineral samples in a platform game. Another example of a mission task is a race. There would also appear some additional tasks to be done in the rocket cockpit e.g. petrol filling, feeding the astronaut or restocking the supplies of the space station.
A game for the little ones is a small farm for the child to keep some animals, learn their names, the sounds they make etc. A simple memory or maze game is assigned to each animal.
The educational app features interactive activities for engagement like kid’s games, multiple avatars to personalize your character etc. With complete user instructions for a lively experience.
Crossword is a kids app that help them learn spellings of fruits, animals, vegetables, etc. In an intuitive and interactive manner. The app has innovatively designed keypad that allows kids to complete the word with ease and convenience.
The best parental control software to keep your minors safe. Playground is 100% child safe and offers the most comprehensive parental control android applications for kids of all ages.
iSchoolMate Parent App
The app helps to locate your kid and navigate to them in a case of emergency. It has a panic alert functionality and one-to-one private chat only between authorized parents and children. The app encourages kids by giving simple rewards.
iSchoolMate Child App
The app intimates a parent in case of emergency by pressing the panic button. The app provides a direct one-to-one private chat with parent authorized by the child. The app lets a child collect rewards from parents.
E2logy hasn’t got the opportunity to work in this arena yet but would surely love to venture into the same by employing its skills and expertise to create valuable apps for kids.
We have developed many apps for kids and are currently working on some of them. Below are few examples of kids app that is developed by us.
Top 10 quizzer is one of the successful kids’ app that is helpful for all age groups. This app is for both entertainment and education but most importantly for fun with friends and family. There are around 1000 different quizzes in the game, spanning a wide range of categories.
New quizzes and trophies are added every single week, you are only required to purchase the app once, and automatically receive these updates on a weekly basis, free of charge.
Top 10 quizzer is available at Google play and App Store, you can download and make your kids have a wonderful experience on such a great app.
Trivia is a game of fun as well as help the kids to gain knowledge while playing. This app is developed in two languages i.e. Turkish and English. The game has various quizzes based on different categories, you have to answer the questions and after successful completion of one quiz, you will move to the next level. Here you can test your knowledge and challenge your friends to beat your scores.
You can also do chat with your friends and opponents, share images, comment or like other’s post.
Ebiz is the unique model which allows you to learn and grow. This educational app is for all age groups which presents an opportunity that will not only quench your thirst for knowledge but will bring you face to face with the vast powerhouse of information. In this app, kids can read various tutorials based on different subjects, can give tests and based on the test results they will be evaluated. Students are able to download the certificates for their tests.
As this is not the end of list, we are working on few more apps that will entertain the kids and help them to grow their knowledge in every field.
We have worked on plenty of games/app for kids. Few of noteworthy apps/games are as follow:
The children of today are growing up surrounded by technology. Apps have the ability to bring knowledge and the world to their fingertips. In this light, developers can be educators and entertainers. Using age appropriate design and content, development companies can tailor their apps to not only attract kids, but to also provide them information for their own personal development. New advances in technology have the potential to further enhance the experience and delivery of information to kids of all ages.
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