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I Didn’t Know I Could Do This!

By Clare Hanbury

Recently I was asked to review a mobile application that had been designed to help children aged 5-10 learn about nutrition, hydration, sleep, mood and exercise. I was not sure that I would have very much to say but when I played this app, imagining I was the child user, I found that I could provide insights on the following 20 points:

  1. Imagery
  2. Characters
  3. Voices of the characters
  4. Soundeffects
  5. Appropriateness of the content to the targetted age group
  6. Gender and disability sensitivities
  7. Logical flow
  8. The language spoken by the characters
  9. Sound affects
  10. Size of the text and imagery
  11. Accuracy of the health messages
  12. The tightness of the message – and where there might be unnecessary language
  13. Settings in which the messages were conveyed
  14. The entertainment value of the activities
  15. Structure of the app
  16. The flow of the content within each section
  17. Size and balance of the content between sections
  18. Connections (or not) between each section
  19. Relationships between the characters
  20. The way in which the app might be played by different age groups.

I was completely amazed at how much I had to say and it came quickly and easily.

I’m guessing that most apps for children go through a discovery phase (and that they are piloted), but I do wonder if someone has designed a way to capture all the questions we need to be asking when developing this type of resource specifically for children and their parents. And it’s not just about the questions it’s about how, when, and where they are asked; it’s about designing activities around finding things out from children so you can tell how something is really landing with them. If it’s really moving their thinking and behaviour from A to B and not just an exercise in finding out what they think you want to hear.

Have I found myself (yet another) new job?