Children's Design Principles

I joined the team last year and one of the first things I noticed was that we had lots of guidelines for the positioning of elements on screen but nothing about the emotional layer that makes kids want to come back to our games and apps.

It felt like we were creating empty rooms where the light switches would be in a consistent place, or the plug sockets would be positioned in similar places. It didn’t tell you what to fill the room with to create a space that kids want to stay and have fun in…. like should a bed be bouncy, should the clock shoot out of the wall.

The Problem

What we found as a design team on games and apps is that when we were feeding back on work, fairly consistent themes would appear which would force us to repeat ourselves as we fed back. The themes were generally difficult concepts to easily communicate to both designers and non designers alike.

Our Approach

Myself and the team ran a series of workshops identifying the problems, rapidly generating lots and lots of post its before looking for recurring themes which we dot voted.

We then turned these problems into a set of "How Might We?"

From here we settled on the idea of having a set of design principles to communicate these ideas. The next challenge was a series of questions... Who would use it? Why would they use it? What is it that we are trying to say?

Originally these principles were conceptualised for Apps but it now feels like they have grown to be something broader, more a set of principles for designing digital experiences for children, that could cover games or responsive. We originally had between 16 and 20 principles- we’ve now got these down to 9.

We documented the principles then set about storyboarding interactions that would demonstrate them. Getting Complete Control onboard allowed us to bring them to life in HTML5.


UX&D Team
Robin Gibson (Snr Designer)
Andrew Campbell (Mid Designer)
Joe Maguire (Mid Designer)

Complete Control (Animation, HMTL5 development)

Concept, Facillitation, team lead, Strategy, UX Design, game design & art direction,

BBC GEL: How to design for Children
BBC GEL: Playful principles for designing for children
Complete Control

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Sample from animations with personality. We wanted to use mundane objects and bring them to life with animation.

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The workshops really brought together the orginal concept.

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I created a set of wires and storyboards for the interactions.

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Before supplying an art style and direction to Complete Control to work their magic.