For many online retailers and gaming websites, having kiddie-appeal is an absolute must. This is not always as difficult to achieve as you might think – after all, we were all kids once.
To design an effective website for children, you need to be prepared to think a little more out of the box than when designing for adults – but it’s a great chance to have some fun while you are at it.
Here are a few guidelines that can ensure you hit the target every time when designing a website that is irresistible to a youthful audience.
Children are driven by the face-value of things. If it looks or sounds good – it’s good enough for them. If you want to attract their attention, you need to appeal to as many of their senses as you can, and then some!
Color is king
From birth, color is the number one thing that attracts a child’s interest.
Have you ever noticed how colorful the most popular children’s characters are? From Barney to the Power Rangers, you’ve got a whole kaleidoscope of shades going on there. There is no doubt that bold, bright colors appeal to a young audience.
Use color wherever you can all over your website. In backgrounds, tabs and even within the text.
Use movement to get those little eyeballs glued to the screen.
Videos, music, and animation are irresistible to young curious minds. They simply have to see what happens when you press play.
To children, it seems like animated characters are alive and interacting with them – like little electronic friends.
Children relate to other children. If they see their peers age using a particular product, they will know that they can do it too. For example, trampoline sellers could use images of children enjoying their toddler’s version to entice interest.
Keep it simple
Simple clear instructions and bold, bright and easy to use navigation give children a sense of accomplishment while moving through your site. Use age appropriate words and imagery. Remember younger audiences can’t read and may need help to get around, using icons and sound.
While children are becoming more tech-savvy at a younger age if they find your site too complex or difficult to ‘work’ they may become discouraged and move on to more child-savvy places.
This is a no-brainer. If your website is a happy place for children where they can play games, and interact with colors in a cheerful space, they will revisit it regularly.
Kids love using their imagination, making up their stories and immersing themselves in magical, whimsical scenarios.
Educate without overloading
Although adults may visit your website for information; and you should have a section for parents that explains how you are engaging with their child on your site; children want fun.
Make learning an irresistible experience full of games, videos, and interactive aspects and they will remember you long after they have logged off. Sesame Street has been getting this right for years.
Go easy on the text, too much writing will only remind them of school, and keep your wording and text size at a level that your audience can understand.
Take it for a test drive
Rope in some of your nephews and nieces or even your own youngsters to take your website for a spin before going live. You will be able to tell if you’ve got their attention or not, soon enough.
By far the most important things to remember when creating a children’s website are to throw away the rule book, reawaken your inner child, and have fun with it!