Today on Radio Johnny, Jeff Parks talks with Debra Gelman, User Experience Lead at Comcast Interactive. Debra shares key guidelines for designing for children; how these experiences can assist all designers in creating more effective online experiences for adults; as well as ways to create engaging social media interactions for children.
The area I’m really interested in and focused on are kids ages 7-11. These kids are in what Piaget called the concrete operational phase…because at this stage kids are beginning to understand the explicit, the concrete, but they’re still struggling with abstract concepts. They are looking for proof in their digital interactions!
When designing for kids, it’s a good idea to not always throw new, fresh content at them…Adults like that freshness…but for kids it throws them! If you’re designing for kids, make incremental changes.
Something I try to do in developing experiences for kids is to create something that they can hold onto, as part of the story, separate from the online experience. Whether it’s a principal certificate; whether it’s a membership card; anything fun that they can just quickly…have as a tangible concrete reminder of the experience is key because that’s all part of the story.
Debra shares important differences when designing for children, compared to that of adults from a better understanding of world-renowned Child Psychologist, Jean Piaget and the four stages of cognitive development.
Debra also notes three essential elements when attempting to design for children including those of familiarity, tangibility, and time sensitivity. She goes on to note that we can learn a great deal about designing for children and how such an understanding can help us design better for adults.
Jean Piaget – Four Stages of Cognitive Development:
Jean Piaget – Concrete Operational Stage of Cognitive Development
Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act – COPPA
Children’s Advertising Review Unit – CARU
Designing for Children – Designing Usable Sites for Children and Teens
Data about children on the Internet
Popular Sites for Kids 7 – 11
Science Education – Discovery Kids
General Education – FunBrain
Financial Literacy – Planet Orange
Games and Videos – Nickelodeon
Games and Videos – Cartoon Network
Virtual World – Club Penguin
Virtual World – Webkinz
Books by Morgan Kaufmann on Designing for Children
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