Sample Essay on Apps Development for Children

Introduction

In today’s society, children are more exposed to various technologies and digital devices in their daily life. For instance, children are more likely to use iPads since they are developed with an interface they can easily relate to (Baute 1). For this reason, app development for children installed in digital devices has become an interesting subject of study and discussion. Consequently, this essay deals with the aspect of developer’s perspective and the best principles applicable in developing children apps.

The study in this essay is based on finding out general design principles used by developers when coming up with children apps. These developers have the view that, having the user in mind and understanding who they are while creating the apps is one of the most significant principles (Hoober and Eric 49). The study also seeks to find out how the apps add value to children’s interactions and operations while using touch screen devices to accomplish various objectives. Qualitative approach is used in the study through the administration of interviews to professional app developers. The developers provide their opinion based on the formulated research question and give additional information related to the development of apps for children.

Summary of the essay
Description of the study

The study of app development for children is currently essential considering that children have access to technologies like touch screens and touch pads than ever before. Handheld devices like tablets are also in use everywhere and children interact with them in their daily life. The thesis in the essay is based on the aspect of developer’s perspective while creating apps for children. It is also based on how children apps should be best created to enhance the use of touch screen devices. The problem statement clearly highlights all the specific general design principles that are essential in apps development.

The aim of the study is clearly highlighted as seeking to examine general design principles applied by developers in the development of apps for children. The other purpose is to find out their suitability to children. Here, a research question is formulated to help in getting the right answers. However, there are limitations of this study like the fact that it focuses on the perspective of developers and gives little attention to the children perspective. Due to time constraints, there was a restriction to mobile devices like mobile phones and tablets in the study. The methodology of the study is the qualitative method using semi-structured interview questions. Respondents in the interviews are developers of children apps who give their perspective on the general design principles.

Literature review

Under literature review, the essay discusses general design principles that are applicable in apps development for children as provided by other authors. It begins by explaining that understanding end users in the process of apps development is one of the crucial principles. This principle is supported by other four basic principles that include; needs identification and establishment of requirements; development of design options as per various requirements; developing an interactive prototype; and conducting continuous evaluations (Preece and Helen 27).

Secondly, the article explains the four principles under the Norman interaction model by Donald Norman. One is feedback that ensures a user receives responses instantly and confirms the success of an action during interactions. Second is mapping which helps users to understand relationship with the device and relationships between objects. Third entails the constraints, which developers employ to make sure users manage to use the apps effectively. Fourth is affordances that allow objects to be easily understood when exploring their properties (Hoober and Eric 63).

Another conceptual model in the essay discusses metaphors. These are used to combine what is already known with new knowledge to enhance the user’s understanding of the system in a better way. For example, weather reports presentations can be presented to children through mobile devices in a manner that is easily accessible (Hoober and Eric 67).

Other principles discussed in the essay are user interface designing principles and touch design principles including the touch targets and gestures design principles (Saffer 6). Finally, the literature on sound principles describes how children prefer listening instead of reading digital or web content. Moreover, the view that children understand given instructions in the form of sound more than text is highlighted (Kähkönen and Saila 95).

Results analysis

The results of the study and the literature review agree on various issues on the general design principles for children apps development. However, the respondents agree some principles are more important than others are. For instance, the principle highlighting that it is important to have the user in mind while developing the app.  Feedback is also a very essential principle in providing visual and sound feedback. Besides their views on the general design principles, respondents give other details that are essential in children apps. These details include; firstly, it is necessary to ensure that the apps appear playful and natural to the children. Secondly, the language used should be considered to ensure the app is marketable universally. Thirdly, various laws in different countries that may affect the apps market should be put into consideration in the development process. Finally, they highlight that advertising and inclusion of in-app purchases is not encouraged in children apps to avoid confusing them. This is because parents will choose the apps that assure them that their children are safe and that they will not incur additional charge through in-app purchases.

Ethical considerations and future research

The essay highlights that the developers put ethical considerations in their job since they create children products. One developer explains that his company avoids advertising through the apps or including in-app purchases in children apps in order to adhere to good ethics. The article proposes some issues to be considered for future research. These include finding out parents views on the issue of advertising and inclusion of in-app purchases in children apps. Additionally, observing how children use apps to find out the apps advantages and disadvantages and gather more information on apps development process. This also shows that app development for children is a topic with a lot of information that needs to be sought after thus providing an exciting opportunity for future research and development. The information obtained in the studies is particularly helpful in educating developers on what they should consider and apply in apps development for touch screen devices (Dale and Lewis 82).

Reflection on methodological choices

As mentioned before, the method of study used is qualitative interviews. It is appropriate because it helps in searching for information from a particular group of people. This method is more likely to provide unbiased and first-hand information from selected respondents. In interviews, a researcher is more likely to get an expert opinion by selecting respondents based on their qualifications and experience in the subject (Price and Lucrezia 112). On the other hand, conducting interviews consumes a lot of time while collecting and processing collected information. This could hinder the researchers from obtaining views from as many respondents as possible. Interviews allowed the use of semi-structured questions providing an edge to the research since they could be prepared before conducting the interview allowing more time to construct the right questions (Luterbach and Kenneth 35).

In the implementation, the researchers customized the interview questions to match the experience of each respondent. This ensured they got accurate information from each respondent based on what they had practiced. The use of semi-structured questions allowed an open conversation with the respondents such that both the interviewers and respondents were free to ask other questions or ask for clarifications. This ensured there was flexibility since they both did not have to adhere to an individual script. The presence of more than one researcher during the interview implementation provided an opportunity to take proper notes and a recording that are crucial for future reference. However, the recording process could also make respondents become reserved affecting the quality of provided information (Abdullah, Ghalebandi and Roffeei 378)

The researchers had the choice of using other methods such as quantitative methods for example, surveys. These could be used to collect data from fully structured interview questions formulated beforehand. Through this method, the researchers could also be able to collect more data from a wider group of people. They could reach out to more developers and other stakeholders like children and their parents (De Troyer and Erik 81)

Reflection on social and ethical issues

Apps development for children essay has highlighted the fundamental social and ethical issues that have been looked handled properly. These issues relate to creating products for children in an ethical way and ensuring the research was conducted ethically. In the case of Apps development for children, considerations of what is allowed to be contained in the apps are properly made. For instance, advertising is not considered appropriate in apps meant for children as it can affect the users experience negatively. The developed apps should also be of high standards of quality such that users prefer them after their parents conduct simple evaluations (Zydney and Simon 42)

On the other hand, proper ethics were applied while doing the research. This was by making sure that participants were informed that their participation was voluntary and the purpose of data to be collected data was given. Consent of participants was sought, and matters of confidentiality were sorted with the respondents.

Summary

Apps development for children is an area that requires a lot of attention than ever before considering that there are various technological advancements in the areas of mobile devices presently. This essay sought to conduct a study on the general design principles that are applied in developing apps meant for children. It also aims to know how efficient the apps are at assisting children in their interactions. The developers’ perspective is the critical aspect that is considered in this study.

Qualitative interviews were used in the study as the most appropriate method applicable in the study. Respondents agree with most of the information gathered by the researcher on this study and provide additional information based on their views on apps development for children. The study successfully convinces the researchers to look forward to more exciting areas of research related to apps for children. The study in this essay has therefore achieved its objectives in finding out the general design principles applicable to apps development for children. It has also provided the way forward for future research in this area.

Works Cited

Abdullah, Noorhidawati, Ghalebandi, Seyedeh Ghazal and Roffeei, Siti Hajar. “How do young children engage with mobile apps? Cognitive, psychomotor, and affective perspective.” Computers & Education 87 (2015): 385-395. Print.

Baute, Nicole. Is the iPad the next big thing for toddlers? (2010): Web. 2 February 2012.

Dale, Nell and Lewis, John. Computer Science Illuminated, 6th ed. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc, Sudbury, (2015): 76-387 ISBN: 9781284055917.Print

De Troyer, Olga, and Erik Janssens. “Supporting the requirement analysis phase for the development of serious games for children.” International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction 2.2 (2014): 76-84.

Hoober, Steven, and Eric Berkman. Designing Mobile Interfaces. Sebastopol: O’Reilly Media, 2011. Internet resource.

Preece Jennifer, Yvonne Rogers, Helen Sharp. Interaction Design Beyond Human-Computer Interaction: United States of America, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., (2002). 27.

Kähkönen, Matleena, and Saila Ovaska. “Initial observations on children and online instructions.” Proceedings of the 2006 conference on Interaction design and children. ACM, (2006): 93-96.

Luterbach, Kenneth J. and Kenneth R. Hubbell. “App Development Paradigms for Instructional Developers.” TechTrends 59.5 (2015): 31-39.

Price, Sara, Carey Jewitt, and Lucrezia Crescenzi. “The role of iPads in pre-school children’s mark making development.” Computers & Education 87 (2015): 131-141.Print.

Saffer, Dan. Designing gestural interfaces: Canada ” O’Reilly Media, Inc.”, (2009): 3-9.

Zydney, Janet Mannheimer, and Simon Hooper. “Keeping Kids Safe From a Design Perspective: Ethical and Legal Guidelines for Designing a Video-Based App for Children.” TechTrends 59.2 (2015): 40-46.