The entire means of designing digital applications comes with many challenges and decisions. For almost all of projects, you’ll be designing in somewhat familiar territory. But what happens if in case you have to design something for use by hundreds of youngsters around the globe? How do you accommodate your design for youngsters of various ages and backgrounds? What special challenges emerge, and the way can they be overcome?
For a project of this scale, the design process we follow might require modifications. These modifications could be to house the desires of younger age groups and would shape all the length of the project, from user research, brainstorming, interface design and interaction design the entire solution to the general stages of usability testing and user support.
First Things First: International Research With Children
The first inquiries to answer when creating applications for youngsters in varied graphical and cultural contexts are:
Creating a single digital product that appeals to the entire world is nearly impossible, but we will be able to narrow down and classify the categories of audiences we’re working with through user research.
Conducting user research with children is a subject of its own, and we have to consider much more factors when the research is international. However the point here’s to take a look at to work with children from different market groups up to possible.
In doing this, aim for the following:
- Work with researchers who speak the children’s native language (even supposing the youngsters are accustomed to a second language), to position them comfortable through the research sessions. That is especially important when working with children as much as 13 years of age, and it gets more flexible with teenagers.
- If the budget allows, have members of the design team attend the research sessions and visit where the youngsters are mainly located, despite the fact that they don’t speak the local language. This may help the team better understand the children’s mental models according to culture and demographics.
- When iterating and testing with users in several parts of the world, a little research companies and teams are keen to make use of forums, message boards or online communities, which facilitate Web-based research panels and which provide the team quick access to a high choice of users. These platforms are often a part of major applications, comparable to online gaming communities and virtual worlds, but they can be created specifically for the aim of testing and sharing concepts with select users, who would access them confidentially with approved user names and passwords. These tools are very effective when the fundamental ideas are in place and will be tested in an interactive prototype, and when the children are above seven years of age (or, if younger, aided by their caregivers). Examples of online research techniques are available at Touchstone Research, which has a protracted history of working with kids and youths in digital interactive spaces.
It’s All Within the Details
When planning the interface of an international digital product, designers must be conscious about how the layout will change when the content is translated, or whether a separate application may be developed for each region on the planet that the corporate desires to cover.
If text could be used for navigation labels and a few content sections, agree on some basic copy with the team, after which wireframe a couple of sections within the languages for you to perhaps have to be specially accommodated within the layout. Translators, developers and architects can interact on wording that may be translated with the least variation in layout; this may occasionally aid the designers in creating appropriate UI elements.
On Nickelodeon’s Neopets, for example, the principle navigation bar looks busier when translated into German and may be tougher to scan. In general, Neopets has a large number of elements to scan, however the change in its feel and appear doesn’t warrant a special layout. The purpose this is that a combination of differences in labeling, text block length and cultural expectations could make it essential to design special interfaces for some regions of the world, and these needs can also be identified early on throughout the user research and wireframing process.
The navigation bar on Neopets in English.
The navigation bar on Neopets in German.
What Language Do You Speak?
Usually the primary (and maybe most blatant) challenge that emerges when working with international audiences is that not everyone speaks the similar language. Universal applications want to overcome this barrier to be able to provide the most productive experience to visitors.
When working with children as our primary audience, we want before everything to spot th…