Design2019-11-01T10:15:54+00:00

Best practice design

Our experiments show that even small changes in design can significantly engage or distract children’s attention, change their story comprehension and promote or inhibit their learning of new concepts.

Enhancements that are not aligned with the narrative interfere with the cognitive capacity while content that is aligned with the narrative can enhance understanding.

Pauses in text, quiet spaces in narration and gaps in illustrations are important for slowing down children’s immersion in the story and ensuring dialogue with others as well as self-reflection.

Personalized features motivate readers’ engagement and interest in stories. When offered through open-ended design, personalized features encourage content authorship and story-sharing.

Based on years of empirical research we recommend the following guidelines for developing digital books for children or pre-school/lower primary age:

What makes a good children’s story?

What makes a good digital story?

Good digital stories…

  • engage the parent through guiding questions
  • include embedded analytics
  • include music and voiceovers
  • offer options for personalising and sharing
  • offer children direct interaction with the narrative

An example of innovative design we love

Digital enhancement recommendations:

Enhancements that are not aligned with the narrative interfere with the cognitive capacity while content that is aligned with the narrative can enhance understanding.

Film-like-features (zooming in and highlighting specific features that aid understanding of the story) and interactivity (actions promoting that children imagine themselves in the story characters’ situation) support children’s story comprehension and vocabulary development.

Pauses in text, quiet spaces in narration and gaps in illustrations are important for slowing down children’s immersion in the story and ensuring dialogue with others and self-reflection.

All active hotspots on a screen need to be indicated with a button/ clear graphic.

All multimedia and interactive features should be offered as optional, with the possibility to switch on/off.

The quality of narration is as important as quality of images or text and should be developed with allocated budget and professional insight.

Platform-agnostic apps (such as Web Apps) are free from commercial constraints imposed by App stores and offer greater potential for innovative design and privacy/security of personal data.

Digital books in the form of apps and adaptive software follow national and international regulations designed to protect children’s privacy and security.

Featured designer

Het Woeste Woud

Het Woeste Woud is an agency making apps, animation and films for children from the Netherlands run by Christiaan Coenraads.

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