Kids-friendly apps: why design matters

As kids today grow up amid the possibilities of the digital world, a design-first approach is necessary for OTT apps

The boom of digital brought changes in habits, and new trends that have progressively impacted younger generations. If a few years ago the narrative was centred around digitally-savvy users, today’s digital ecosystem is more sophisticated, crafted with younger demographics in mind. We are talking about digital-first users, to be more precise, those born in an environment that’s richer than ever in tech gadgets of every kind. Devices that are now essential to perform a number of activities.

With entertainment, but also education, in mind, how can technology support a meaningful – and child-friendly – experience for younger users? At Simplestream we constantly work on the development of new web and mobile apps able to embrace the needs of the new generations and create a seamless experience across multiple touchpoints.

As kids today grow up amid the endless possibilities of the digital world, a design-first approach is necessary to create valuable products. Whether with leisure in mind, or more educational objectives, there are at least three key aspects that make design integral to successful children-friendly applications. Read on and learn more.

#1. Think about the experience

A huge part of being a kid – and, let’s face it, the one adults miss the most – is the freedom to discover, face challenges, learn through multi-layered experiences. Accessing content on a streaming platform makes no difference, especially when entertainment can be linked to educational aspects. As kids are used to seamlessly exploring, wandering, discovering new things, their experience on an app needs to match those inner desires and expectations.

#2. Colours, fonts, image: the 101 of kids-friendly design

At Simplestream, we have a design-first approach that always aims to refine our products with the objective of creating the best experience for the end-user. With this in mind, there are some elements that need to be carefully crafted when creating the right environment for younger viewers to enjoy. 

Bright colours, readable fonts, interchangeable sets of images: the 101 of kids-friendly design starts here. We make it easy for the audience to enter a new world, by reducing the steps to a minimum when wanting to start streaming content. Think of bespoke themes, with accessibility in mind (i.e. readable text on multi-colour backgrounds), or visually compelling sets of icons. 

Also, content needs to be organised to minimise friction even further than in an application delivered to more mature demographics. Less is more, of course, yet don’t underestimate what children today can do on a digital app and on multiple devices. They are a smart bunch, and will happily step up to the challenges you give them.

#3. Interactivity makes it more engaging

The integration of learning features with the entertainment side of a kids-oriented OTT platform is becoming a must. That’s where a viewing experience can be turned into an interactive one. At Simplestream we worked on the integration of a third party Art Pad solution, specifically designed to enhance the experience on various devices.

Elements of interactivity and gamification are going to become must-haves when it comes to kids-oriented apps. As we are designing for children, it’s paramount to respect their intelligence, their eagerness to be involved, do things for themselves, and – ultimately – strive for success when forging their creative skills.

Closing thoughts

OTT and streaming platforms are more and more integral to a child’s digital developmental experience, from a very young age. Kids, today, are digital-first human beings, immersed in the intricacies of the digital world from day one. When designing applications that will likely keep them occupied for several hours a day, either for leisure or education, a design-first approach is key.

After all, a fine-tuned child-focused product will delight the youngest viewers and help them navigate the sea of discoveries and learnings in a safer, more enjoyable, and certainly memorable way.