Product design

UX Design for Children: How to Create a Product Children Will Love


min to read

30 Dec



Table of contents

Pew Research Center reports that the majority of kids in the US actively use digital devices, and many of them have smartphones or tablets of their own. The number of young users tends to increase over time. And design for this interesting (and somewhat challenging) audience is a responsible mission.

UX design for kids is not as simple as to just have a few clowns looking funny and some music playing while they use the product. First of all, you must know what difference in terms of demands lies between children and adults.

As a design agency we understand the importance of UX specifics when targeting a particular audience, especially a younger one. In this article, we would like to provide insights on what you need to pay attention to when designing a kid-friendly interface.

The growing digital presence of children

digital presence of children statistics
Image credit

The digital landscape for children under the age of 12 is significantly shaped by their interaction with various digital devices, as highlighted by recent Pew Research Center findings. A majority of parents report that television is the primary digital medium their children engage with, with 88% of children using or interacting with a TV. Tablets and smartphones also play a significant role in children's digital lives, with 67% of children using tablets and 60% engaging with smartphones. The engagement varies with age; older children (9-11 years) are more likely to use desktops or laptops (73%) and gaming devices (68%) compared to their younger counterparts. Remarkably, about six in ten parents of smartphone-using children under 12 indicate their child started engaging with smartphones before the age of 5, with one-third starting before age 2. Furthermore, nearly one in five parents state their child possesses their own smartphone, with ownership more prevalent among older children (9-11 years) and those from less educated households. These statistics underscore the growing digital presence of children and the importance of designing age-appropriate, engaging, and safe digital experiences to cater to this young and impressionable audience.

Main niches where design for children is applicable

To better understand where a solid design for kids is especially important, take a look at statistics on what content children most interacted with in 2021.

niches where children use tech

As we can see, software products and video content are among the most popular. We can name three main niches where child-friendly design is especially needed.

  • Entertainment
    Entertainment is the main reason why children use digital products, so it’s no wonder that gaming apps, entertaining platforms and websites make the biggest niche. When designing an entertaining product for children, keep in mind that kids develop an addiction easier, so you need to be ethical in your design decisions.
  • Online learning
    It is hard to get children engaged in learning and keep them interested in whatever they study. However, if done right, it can be a very positive experience. Students can appreciate learning something new or improving on what they already know. You can use this insight as a base for online educational platforms for children. For example, include design elements that show progress and achievements.
  • Fintech for children
    Yes, children nowadays use fintech products along with adults. The days of cash are behind and the demand for mobile banking apps and other fintech products for children is growing. Pay extra attention to the safety and usability of such complex products and don't forget to include and design educational components to increase your teenage users’ financial literacy. 
a finance learning app for children
Anastasia on Dribble

Understanding your audience: children vs adults

So, what exactly leads to UX design for children needing to be different from design for adults?

What differs children from adults? 

Children are a new, unique, and more demanding audience. Stating the obvious, there are many differences between them and adults. And these differences matter for design.

Physical  differences

This is the first thing to take into account when designing for kids. Children’s motor skills (especially at a young age) are different from those of other age groups. Younger kids’ motorics change their user behavior. For example, at early age children typically type slowly or have limited control of the mouse. This is something designers have to pay attention to when creating UI for children.

Kids on Google meme

The cognitive difference 

These differences are an even bigger matter to consider if you want to create a great user interface design for kids. That’s why it makes sense to dive a bit into the theory of cognitive development. Children’s mental abilities are quite different. Depending on the age, they may lose focus or get bored quickly and in general, are less patient than grown-ups. Kids want interaction, so to keep your little users’ attention, you need your design to keep them engaged. It can be constant feedback or a little challenge that will make the experience interactive enough. Unlike adults, children like animation and sound effects. 

Extra safety precautions

It is also a part of mental development but children might not know the consequences of some actions. For this reason, your design should be very transparent about what’s going to happen. The same goes for the advertising and purchase within products for children. Make sure your design doesn’t trick young users into something they are not conscious of. Nielsen Norman Group research shows that children can barely distinguish advertising and promotions from real content. 

What’s similar between children and grown-ups?

Apart from differences, there are also similarities that can help you create a better user experience for children.

Kids just like adults appreciate consistency in design. A consistent design pattern helps to learn to navigate through the app or website faster. And it’s a matter of common sense, not a specific age.

Little users don’t like unnecessary complexity just like grown-ups. Too many design elements make it unclear to users which ones they can interact with. Extra unnecessary elements in the app or on the webpage can be confusing to both adults and kids. 

Kids are a user group whose needs should be properly researched. The key to good design for children is to treat them just like adults and pay extra attention to user research. Study your user group, understand their needs, and create the best user experience possible..

5 principles for better UX design for children

Now, let's get into the principles that will help you boost your design for children. 

Design for your target age group

Kids develop fast and their abilities and needs are not the same at the age of four and at the age of ten. That is why to create a better design, divide children into smaller age groups and define your target audience.

Age groups development specifics
The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne

Choose the color palette and fonts carefully

Colors matter much more in design for children than for adults. So, choose child-friendly fonts like Sassoon Primary, Gill Sans Infant Std., or Futura. And use 14 point font size for younger kids and 12 for older. Don’t be afraid to add more colors than you would when designing for grown-ups.

a children's app
Readable fonts and more colors make UX for children better. Image credit: Jenelle Milleron Dribble

‍Create a digital helper 

A friendly helper is a good idea in digital products for children. Designing a virtual helper, cool and cute character that will help children to navigate through the product, can make the user experience smoother and more interactive.

digital helper in a children's app
Image credit: Paweł Szymankiewicz on Dribble

Provide constant feedback and reward

As we mentioned before, children, due to their age specifics, lose focus and motivation faster than adults. Design can help solve this issue. Add progress tracking elements and proofs of achievement. UX elements should constantly speak to children giving them feedback and keeping them engaged. 

Make it as intuitive as possible

Modern kids are growing up with gadgets in their hands 24/7 and we can even call them digital natives. However,  kids, just like older users, base their knowledge on their previous online experiences. So a good practice will be to implement general and familiar design patterns rather than inventing new user interfaces for kids. And keep in mind - your youngest users might not be even able to read, so you need to create such an experience that will be easy for them to use the product nevertheless.

Examples of stunning UX for kids

For you to get an idea of how you may design your product for children and teenagers, we have gathered some examples to learn from. 

Perfect Pitch Toddler Games

PerfectPitchToddler app
Image source: Perfect Pitch Toddler Games

This collection of games was created for toddlers to train their musical ear. It’s a good example of how the UX takes into account cognitive development. Kids at the youngest age can’t read and memorize, so the game uses animals to represent notes and uses the simplest UI patterns that even the youngest children can understand. 

My Teeth app

My Teeth app
Image credit: TheKeptPromise

The app that teaches children how to brush their teeth properly uses the principles of UX for young users. Bright illustrations, funny guiding characters, and big-sized readable fonts are just what kids need to stay focused on the task and entertained at the same time.


BOOKR Class app
Image source: BOOKR Class

This web application encourages children to read books. Its creators have nailed the feedback and reward approach that is so important for a good user experience for children. There are badges for progress, statistics that keep users motivated, and also a clear menu that helps to navigate the application easily.

Youtube Kids

YouTube Kids app

Youtube Kids is an example of how the product designed for kids differs from the one targeting adults. It’s much easier to navigate thanks to bigger buttons and fewer content boxes on the page. Plus the security settings on the platform make sure that younger users are safe and have access to appropriate content. Those all are parts of a thought-through design interface for children.

Wizarding World

Wizarding World interface

Kids' website design doesn't always need to be all colorful. A famous Wizarding World website is a good example of how to target specifically your age audience, older kids and teenagers. Dark-themed UI combined with well-structured familiar website patterns and readable fonts provides a good UX experience. 

To sum up

Designing for children requires a thoughtful approach that balances fun, engagement, and safety. The digital world is an integral part of children's lives, with a significant number engaging with a variety of devices from a very young age. As developers and designers, we have the responsibility to create digital products that not only captivate and educate but also protect young users. Understanding the cognitive and physical differences between children and adults is crucial in crafting experiences that are both accessible and enjoyable for the younger audience.

If you found this topic interesting, check out our other article, where we’ve discussed how to build accessible UX that will help you understand the needs of people of different ages and capabilities.

At Eleken, we specialize in UI/UX design that meets the unique needs of every user group, including children. Our team of experienced designers is dedicated to creating digital products that stand out for their creativity, usability, and adherence to safety standards. Whether you're looking to design a new educational app for children, a fun and interactive game, or any other digital product tailored to the younger audience, Eleken is here to help bring your vision to life. Get in touch with us to discuss details.

Mariia Kasym

Writer at Eleken