Technology is everywhere. It’s at everyone’s fingertips. No one is more aware of this than children. The current generation of digital natives (those under 26 years old) knows what it’s like to be born into a world replete with the latest gadgets. Even so, when children access technology, it must be both safe and easy to use. Here are 6 design tips for kids’ tech products to consider.
Start with the Parents
A product should primarily appeal to its target audience. In the case of things designed for children, though, there’s one major caveat to this concept: parents.
It is equally important to consider both the child who will use, as well as, the parent that will approve of the end product. It doesn’t matter how appealing your device is to a youngster. If their parent doesn’t like it, chances are it will never get into the hands of the person that it was designed for.
With that in mind, here are 6 design tips for Kids’ tech Products considerations aimed at garnering parental approval.
1. Make Your Product Safe
Safety is a top priority for all parents. It doesn’t matter if they’re helping their kids walk through a busy parking lot or teaching them how to use their first kids phone. Regardless of the situation, parents are always going to want to know how safe their children are.
That’s why creating a safe kid tech product should be a top priority for design teams, as well. This should take into consideration all aspects of safety. For instance, you want to address:
- Cybersecurity: Identity theft is a real concern, even for adults. Are you asking for minimal information in order for a child to use your product? Are you being excruciatingly careful to protect the information that you do gather?
- Cyberbullying: Bullying doesn’t just take place in the physical. Have you thought about if and how your product could become a tool to bully others? If so, have you taken steps to guard against this possibility?
- Physical safety: Is your product designed to keep users safe from physical harm while using it? Does it have sharp edges? Can it shock you if it gets wet? Make sure to address all safety concerns that could harm users of your product.
There are many aspects to designing a good kids’ tech product that will also gain parental approval. Safety is one of the top items on the list.
2. Make Your Product Parent-Friendly
It’s easy to think of making your product kid-friendly, but is it parent-friendly as well? If a parent is going to struggle with using a device or an app, it may lead to frustration and poor feedback.
As you design your device, don’t forget to cater to the parents as well. Make it as easy as possible for them to set up the device. Give them their own designated section so that they can remain in control of the device. Do not, under any circumstances, provide options for the kids to block the parents through passwords or other authentication. In other words, make sure to equip parents to run their kids’ devices without getting a headache in the process.
3. Make Your Product Self-Aware
A product designed to feed addictive behavior isn’t going to be attractive to most parents. An app that encourages nonstop use or a toy that leads children to spend too much time away from others isn’t going to get the parental seal of approval.
Instead, strive to create a device that has a distinct purpose. Even if that purpose is “to have fun,” you still want to build a sense of self-awareness into the product. If an app has the potential to be addictive, create a daily time limit feature. If it requires long periods of use, set up screen breaks. By showing a sense of self-awareness, you signal to parents that you are taking their child’s welfare into consideration.
Put Yourself in the Kids’ Shoes
It’s important to satisfy parental concerns as you develop your tech product. However, you must also consider the end-user. Even if a parent approves, it won’t do you much good if their child isn’t interested in using the device.
Here are a few major areas to keep in mind as you create. They are applicable, regardless of what you’re designing or the specific demographic of children that you’re designing it for.
1. Make Your Product Respectful of the End-User
A kids’ tech product may be for children, but that doesn’t mean you can slack on the quality of its design. You must take the time to do your homework if you want your product to resonate with its intended audience.
Do some research into your target demographic, including their ages, interests, and experiences. The more you know about the kids that will use your tech, the more they’ll enjoy using it in the long-run.
2. Make Your Product Intuitive
Digital natives may be comfortable with tech, but that doesn’t mean they’re all prodigies. As with all tech, it’s important that you make it as intuitive as possible. The easier it is to use your design, the happier your customers will be — even if they’re three years old.
This doesn’t mean you have to be overly simplistic. For instance, if you want to develop a toy to teach coding to middle schoolers, by all means, do so. However, as you work on the design, consider how easy it is to use the product. This includes everything from the assembly to an accompanying app, to something as simple as the volume button.
3. Make Your Product All-Inclusive
A desktop computer manufacturer can create a product and then leave it to the consumer to purchase all of the accessories. The same can be said for most adult tech products, from smartwatch wristbands to smartphone earbuds.
When it comes to kid tech, though, it’s wise to be as inclusive as possible. Don’t load your device down with the need to purchase extracurricular accouterments.
Try to be as all-inclusive as possible. Remember, you’re creating a product for a demographic that has minimal resources and limited access to spend them. Try to give them everything you can in a single, initial purchase. This will go a long way in ensuring that they’re satisfied with their experience from the get-go.
It’s important to consider both parents and children when designing tech for kids. Aim to strike a balance between these two parties as you establish your priorities. If you can design a tech product that interests kids while still catering to parents, you’ll be in a prime position to find success.