Creating a website specifically for children and young adults is quite different from building one that caters to adults.
Although kids are more adept at using mobile devices and computers in recent years, their ability to use the internet properly is largely limited.
The main aim of your website should be to captivate children’s attention and keep them interested for a long while.
With their short attention span, kids need a lot of stimulation to keep them glued to a particular site.
Whether you want your site to serve educational purposes or purely for entertainment, here are some guidelines you need to follow to ensure that what you end up creating is appropriate for children.
Ease of Use
During the planning stage of your website, you need to figure out the age group you want to target. This will enable you to determine the necessary elements to include in your website.
Instead of complex layouts and rigid themes, go the other direction and feature simplified designs with unique and colorful themes.
For instance, you can use a theme based on nature, animals, or cartoon shows and use elements of your chosen theme throughout the site.
Use large letters in fonts that are catchy but still easy to read. Make sure your pages load quickly and include a seamless transition from one page to another.
Your website should be equipped with programs and systems to keep your child’s user data well protected. Install an SSL certificate to ensure that your users’ information is encrypted.
Be sure to update all necessary security patches and run regular tests to detect your site’s weaknesses. Use payment options that limit the risk of identity theft or stolen payment information.
Include a detailed and well-written page explaining to parents and guardians how their wards’ information will be used and processed on your website.
Give parents the option to determine how much of their child’s data can be shared, and always be transparent about your terms and conditions.
A kids’ website is not the ideal place for clever placement of navigation buttons or hidden menu icons. You must ensure that your site’s page map is as big and bold as possible.
Use animations, illustrations, and cute icons to signify various pages and include oversized, easy-to-read text blocks. Place navigation buttons prominently on the homepage, highlighted with vivid colors.
A visitor to your site should be able to see everything the website has to offer from the homepage.
Seeing different options and offerings available will compel kids to explore, and they will end up staying and coming back to your site for a long time.
Children, especially toddlers to pre-teens, grasp concepts and messages better when they are presented in ways that are best suited to their levels of development.
A kid-friendly website is less text-based and more visual-focused. The bulk of your content should be presented through images, videos, illustrations, sounds, and 3D pictures.
Let your site take visitors on a journey with various segments and different stories. Use characters to tell a story based on concepts you wish to teach children.
For example, a trip through prehistoric times featuring primitive animals like dinosaurs and mammoths can be used to help kids learn about evolution.
Call to Action
Call to action buttons are essential to a website, and as such, they should be easy to find and use. Ensure that the messages are written on flashy and colorful backgrounds.
Use elements that will draw the eye towards the call to action. A blinking text box with a character pointing to it can effectively capture people’s attention.
It is essential to ensure that advertisements do not overpower your website, thereby drawing users away or stealing their attention.
Remove all intrusive ads or limit them as much as you can so that kids can click on the right call to action.
The same privacy and safety ethics that guide adult websites also apply to those intended for children.
Kids should be protected from the harmful aspects of the internet while they browse your website.
All texts should contain friendly and kid-appropriate language; avoid using foul language or words that can cause harm. Crosscheck all featured images and characters to ensure that they are safe for children.
Monitor your site ads and ensure that they are pre-approved before they go live to prevent ads featuring acts such as violence from being displayed on your site.
If you want your website to succeed, you must ensure that it is relevant to your target audience. You must first conduct adequate research about what appeals to children of certain ages.
Children pass through developmental stages fairly quickly, so what might be enough to keep them engaged at age three can be considered too childish by kids aged 6 to 8 years.
While pre-teens and teenagers will be able to handle text descriptions and more mature themes, toddlers and preschoolers will benefit more from visual aids and bold themes.
Designing websites for children is a different bowl of wax than creating sites for adults. Children want to have fun while they learn.
Websites that include entertaining, engaging, and easy-to-understand elements such as puzzles and games, are more likely to grab and hold children’s attention.
Be sure to consider the above strategies when building kid-friendly websites.