Videos of babies and toddlers playing with iPads are always curious to watch: how do they interact with these high tech devices?
In fact, tablet devices have a lot to offer to younger users. Besides keeping them entertained, tablets are full of fun, educational activities. What could be better?
For people like us who are developing educational applications for children and teens, there are some general guidelines:
- Encourage creativity
- Provide a balance between education and entertainment
- Be responsible in the content you choose.
There are lots of important qualities to look for in an application that is well designed for children. However, these qualities can be summarized in two key points:
- Less is more: simplicity is crucial for app usability. Neither a child nor an adultshould have to touch more than once or twice to access information or help;
- Enhanced e-books are not cartoons: animations and interactions in a children’s book are most effective when they are designed with specific goals, not just for effect. Showing a butterfly flying across the screen just because it’s cute is a waste; it should support some aspect of the experience such as story comprehension or vocabulary acquisition.
As clichéd as it may sound, we have to be aware that not only is this generation growing up with technology – it was born with mobile technology. If a three year old is asking for a camera on the iPad, imagine what she will be capable of in the years to come!