When it comes to user experience and design, it is essential that any type of technology, whether it is an Apple Ipad, smartphone, website, app or game, all need to be simple enough to be used by people of all cognitive abilities. One of the easiest ways to test whether something has good UX and design is to see whether a child can use it. The Ipad and other Apple products were given to kids of varying ages to see whether they could figure out how to use the device on their own. To the astonishment of Steve Jobs, they were able to figure out how to use an Ipad intuitively, which was definitely an indication of success. If a child can use it, anyone can. So, with that said, we will now look at exactly how kids can help designers and developers to improve UX and design.
One of the most beautiful things about children is that they don't have the biases and expectations that most adults have. They haven't had years of experiences which enable them to know or expect a device or software to work in a specific way. As a result, children are a clean slate. By allowing children to test your software or device, you will be able to see whether it is actually intuitive to use or not.
Most designers and developers customize their UX and design for specific age group ranges in adults. Meaning, they may have user personas that range between 25 to 35 years old, 40 to 65 years old, etc. As you can see, this range is 10+ years. However, when it comes to creating user personas for products that are meant for children, the age range of the persona is drastically reduced.
The reason for this is because there is a massive difference between a four-year-old child and a seven-year-old child. There are major differences in motor and cognitive abilities. As a result, the user persona age ranges for children are typically 9 to 12 years old, 6 to 8 years and 3 to 5 five years old. There is only a difference of 2 to 3 years. This basically teaches designers that they can do better with regards to the granular segmentation of their intended user base. Humans are much more complicated, and they should focus their UX and design for smaller ranges of age groups instead of ones that are a decade plus apart.
It is no secret that children learn intuitively and depend on feedback. This is important in UX and design, and a good product should provide such feedback to the user in every step. For example, this could mean the inclusion of confirmations after submitting, pop-ups etc.
In closing, these are just a few ways in which kids can help us to create better design and improve UX. Children are our future, and if you want to design products that are meant to last, you should definitely look to kids for even more insights.