Most of what we know about the psychology of HCI (human-computer interaction) and human learning principles is based around studies conducted on college students.
This is one of the primary complaints about the study of psychology in general. We have mountains of data pertaining to 18-25-year olds. Much of what’s been studied has varying applications to either the psychology of older adults or children. And very little about kids’ UX has been studied.
As such, there is an opportunity for emerging specialists in the fields of either adult or childhood learning UX. It’s a great skill to build, as we should all spend some time every day sharpening our UX tools.
To help us out, the Nielsen-Norman group completed a couple of interesting studies into children’s usability. NNGroup.com produced 170 recommendations for childhood usability. Additionally, they were able to make some general statements about how childhood usability differs from adult usability:
Some of the more interesting findings:
- Kids are generally much more wary of giving away personal information online, whereas adults are “recklessly willing to give out personal info.”
- Multiple/redundant navigation is more confusing for children than it is for adults.
- Kids often do not use the back button, whereas it’s an absolutely necessity for adults.
- Real-life metaphors are much better digested by children than by adults.
If you’re interested in reading the full report, you can purchase a license to the report for $188.
A few additional resources:
- UXKids.com, a website devoted specifically to childhood UX.
- UX for Kids’ Products from usertesting.com
- Designing for Kids is Not Child’s Play, by Becky White for Smashing Magazine.
- Designing for Kids, Then and Now on UXmag.com
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This post was driven by a discussion in the UXMastery.com community.