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Sesame Workshop wants to improve iPad apps for kids with free developer guidelines

post #1 of 8
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In an effort to improve the quality of kid-friendly iPad apps, the nonprofit group behind long-running children's series "Sesame Street" has published a free paper to aid developers.

Sesame


Sesame Workshop's Best Practices Guide for Children's App Development is now available for download. In addition to insight from the organization's more than 40 years of children's media testing, the paper, highlighted on Monday by All Things D, includes more than 50 touchscreen studies conducted by Sesame Workshop.

Those tests found that the most intuitive gesture for children is a simple tap on the screen. Kids also like to trace and draw on the screen but have a hard time not lifting their finger, so Sesame Workshop recommends that developers make their applications support partial completion.

Children also find swiping a tablet screen intuitive if there are visual indications on where to swipe. Children can also drag items onscreen but tend to have difficulty with "finger-on-screen continuity," so supporting partial completion is recommended.

On an iPad, children tend to have more trouble with maneuvers such as pinching, tilting or shaking the device, multi-touch, and double tapping.

The best interactive applications for children include a character or friendly adult who greets them once the application is opened. Instructions are then presented up front, while developers are recommended to use time-outs in order to suggest to children what to do next.

The studies also found that children tend to hold iPads in landscape mode and rest their palms at the bottom of the device. As a result, developers are not recommended to place icons at the bottom of the screen, where they are likely to be accidentally pressed.

It's also recommended that children be required to listen to the text on a page in its entirety before the features on the page are enabled. This prevents the child from becoming distracted by selectable options on the page.

Children and schools have become an important market for Apple's iPad, which is the dominant product in the worldwide tablet market. Recent data shows that the iPad is definitively replacing sales of traditional PCs to the education market.
post #2 of 8
Keep it simple, vary the interaction (some just listening, some listen and respond etc). No ads, no IAP to play junk. Find a way to force password input for buying books etc

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #3 of 8
I'd like to see my Restriction settings saved, so they'll all be set when I re-enable them before handing my iPad to a kid.
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Instead, we see toddlers and preschoolers confidently navigating their parents’ iPhones, iPads, and other touch screen devices with astonishing agility and purpose.

Everything else gets lumped in as "other touch screen devices."

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #5 of 8
I have noticed that ads have appeared back on apps targeted at children.
I thought ( during Steve Jobs' tenure ) ads on childrens apps were banned.
Anyone else recall this ?
Am I wrong or has the rule changed now ?
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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Everything else gets lumped in as "other touch screen devices."

LOL good one. It's Apple's iDevices or other. Just two choices.

post #7 of 8

Excellent document, athough I did hand my iPhone to a 3-year-old and he understood immediately how to "flick" without any instruction whatsoever.  

 

You'd be surprised how many of these items apply to neophyte and/or some older adults as well.   

 

There was research many years ago demonstrating how both pre-schoolers and elderly adults had problems with the concept of moving a mouse on a horizontal plane controlling a cursor on a vertical plane.   This can be emulated by taking your mouse and turning it backwards so that moving it away from you moves the cursor down instead of up.   Most brains can't deal with it.  

 

I do have some concerns about letting a 2 to 4 year old play with a device rather than learning how to write on paper and reading from a book first.  IMO, the level of interactivity will get in the way of the kid learning how to read (and write), for which far more patience is required, although I suppose if a parent isn't going to take the time to read to a kid, they might as well get it from the device. 

 

Apple used to publish things like this.   In the early days of the Mac, there was the "Apple User-Interface Guidelines", which I believe was written by Apple and published by Addison-Wesley.    It had some good basic concepts, like in GUIs, you select something and then take an action on it.    Or to avoid modal UIs.   I still have a copy.    Would be nice if Apple did something like this again for iOS, although their SDK enforces some of the UI automatically. 

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

Apple used to publish things like this.   In the early days of the Mac, there was the "Apple User-Interface Guidelines", which I believe was written by Apple and published by Addison-Wesley.    It had some good basic concepts, like in GUIs, you select something and then take an action on it.    Or to avoid modal UIs.   I still have a copy.    Would be nice if Apple did something like this again for iOS, although their SDK enforces some of the UI automatically. 

 

I have that book in hard-copy as well ... good stuff and it's too bad it wasn't more widely followed by developers of non-Apple software and web applications.

 

Anyway, Apple has published their iOS Human Interface Guidelines online:

 

http://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/MobileHIG/Introduction/Introduction.html

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