Building a Friendly Website For Kids
For building the most successful website for kids you will need to keep one thing in mind and that is kids are always growing and changing their choices. Kids get bored so easily and like things according to their age group. A 3 years old kid will always prefer to watch Dora the explorer or Go Diego Go but the same kid at the age of 8 will go for princess movies, Ben 10 or other animated movies and at the age of 13 the kid would like more realistic things like Hannah Montana series, fighting movies or games.
So, you have a great idea to make a website for all types of kids? If yes, then the chances of you having a successful website are almost nil. There is no shortcut to making a single website for all age groups. Even the website with most unique content will not be good for all age groups. However, if you really want to make such a website then there’s only one way and that is you will have to make a website with categories for different age groups of kids.
Biggest Mistake That People Make
The biggest mistake that most of the new authors make in the field of writing kid’s website is that they think the kids these days are so innocent. Kids of the 21st century are way much clever than they were ever before. They love to learn new things and they have the ability to learn anything in the language they understand, the language of entertainment indeed. You can teach them the whole periodic table and will be surprised to see what they can do. The way to do this is teaching them in the language they understand.
While designing your website and using all the creative skills you have to make it interesting for them and easier to understand. One more thing you need to keep in mind is that you’ll have to add only the appropriate and positive contents. Kids are always in the process of learning new things, make sure you give them a positive message.
Understanding Their Needs
For making a successful website you will have to decide what kind of website you are making and what will be your targeted age group of kids. The domain name of your website, title, contents and design should be according to that age group of kids.
You should also keep in mind that kids of the same age group have different interest, choices, and abilities to do a thing. That’s why make sure you provide a variety of contents on your website according to their age and interests. Here is a general list of different age groups of kids, go through these to decide what age group you are targeting for your website.
Age Group #1: 0-2 Years
When making a website for this age group, consider making it for their parents. Their parents will be opening your website for them, make it attractive and childish. This age group doesn’t understand counting, alphabets or any other complex things. Children of this age group like different colors, shapes or animations. They will never like a website with puzzles, mind games or similar things. They would love music with funny animations on which they could dance.
Children of this age group don’t go online much and don’t understand online games. Give them interesting things to see like their own self through the front camera with music. Or different shapes and colors. Also, add an option to print out the screen so they would not be staring at the screen all the time.
Age Group #2: 3-5 Years
Children of this age group already know a bit of technology. Most of them already have watched videos or played games on their parent’s smartphones. They can search things a little bit. They still love shapes and colors but they would now be able to understand alphabets and single numbers and some of them would understand double as well.
Provide big icons or objects as kids may be using a desktop computer with a mouse, it would be hard for them to click on the right option if they are using the mouse for the first time. If they would find it difficult to surf they would certainly leave the website. Keep things as simpler as possible.
Your website should be light and would response very quickly to every option. Remember kids are always impatient, they would never wait for loading of things. They would simply start playing their favorite smartphone game instead.
Age Group #3: 6-8 Years
Children of this age group are very familiar with navigation, games, simple words and counting. A website with simple sentences with interesting pictures will be a good option for them. Simple colors or shapes would be no longer interesting for them, make things a bit challenging but simpler. You may use smaller objects as this age group is mostly familiar with the use of the mouse.
Use can add simpler games along with educational material for them. Simple poems with music animations or pictures along with it, for example, you can add a poem about brushing their teeth along with good music and animation instead of writing a paragraph about why they should brush their teeth. Make things interesting and simple.
Age Group #4: 9-12 Years
At this stage, kids are very good at navigation’s, reading, and listening and understanding complex things. You can add a smaller object, a bit complex navigation’s, puzzles, games, and music. Use short paragraphs with pictures and spaces between them. Don’t make it boring, a large paragraph will be boring even for adults so keep it short and add interesting animations along with it.
Kids at this stage have thirst for learning new things, exploring a new thing every day. Make sure you update your website on a regular basis. Add interesting stuff, pictures of wild animals, pets, famous animated character along with each content of your website.
Age Group #5: 13 and 13+
By this point, some kids get mature and some are still the kids. So, you’ll have to provide contents for both. Treat both types like an adult but still keep things safer for them. Don’t overload their brains. Provide a variety of contents, keeping in mind that their interests are different.
Teenagers understand the technology very well. You can provide lots of options, navigation, and smaller objects. Their interest has a very wide range, make sure you provide contents for all the things a teenager would like.
When building a website for kids under 13, never forget their parents. Let them know what their children are learning and experiencing over your website. Allow them to access all the information of their children along with privacy and policy of your website. Give them an overview of your website, ask them to visit your website before allowing their kid to use your website for the safety. For younger children, ask for parent’s or guardian’s permission before they start using your website.
If you are thinking of making a website for kids under the age of 13 the first step you need to do is to read the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). If your website requires collecting any personal data from the kid, you will need to ask their parents for permission first. Allow parents to access to all the information and data their kid has provided to the website and allow them to remove any information they want to remove. Provide an option to restrict any content they want their kid not to reach.
If your website involves social elements, provide precautions and make them short and interesting so they would read the whole document. Make sure your website does not collect such information through which someone else could access the person in real life. Even if your website is completely safe for teenagers, it is certainly not possible that all the visitors would be safer for teenagers.
You don’t always need to mess up your brain to make a successful kids website. Before starting making a website, make a rough sketch in your brain of your targeted audience, what kind of layout, colors, and contents you want to provide on your website. After that, go online, there are hundreds of successful kid’s websites, go through some of them and note down the key to their success and compare it with the idea you have in your mind of what kind of website you are trying to make.
Keeping all the points you have noted down to target the audience will help you make a successful website.
After you are done with deciding what you want, consider reading some privacy policies on some website like the following to understand the online privacy laws for kids.
American Library Association: Great Websites for Kids
This website provides the list of best kid’s websites. Go through this list to have an idea of what kind of website you are trying to make. They update their website on a regular basis so it is good for you to often visit it to know what kind of things are going viral in the kid’s world and what children’s need, update your website according to that on regular basis to make it even more successful.
The Children’s Online Privacy Act
Go through the FTC site to read an overview of the children’s online privacy act rules and regulations before you publish your website. If you take any private information from your visitors, it’s your responsibility to protect all the information provided to you. It is very important that you make your website according to the law so that you don’t have to face any issue regarding this.