“​Children differ from adults in a way that is very good for us designers. They say things as they are and do not even attempt to put it politely.”

Blog, Nov 20. 2016

Mobile game development supported by children
Us adults have certain assumptions on how computer programs, digital games and mobile phone applications should function. Where a certain button should reside and what function it should perform in the system. When developing these products for children, those assumptions need to be thrown out the window, and a new set of rules should be planned together with the children. Too often the case is that software is developed for a very specified audience, without asking their opinion on how it should work and what it should provide for them.

When developing Denny® The Tooth, our upcoming mobile game, children have a big role. They are our main target audience after all. They see the digital world from a different viewpoint, something that might be hard to grasp for us adults. During the initial development, we made a lot of assumptions on how some aspects of the game should function, for even a child to understand it. Later during the testing phase, our assumptions were proven very wrong. Children are unpredictable, a target group that is very difficult to plan for in advance.

​Children differ from adults in a way that is very good for us designers. They say things as they are and do not even attempt to put it politely. If there is something the children are not happy with, they might let out a frustrated murmur or say to their parent “I’m bored! What am I supposed to do?”. On the other hand, they express their happiness with joyful laughter, a wave of hand and yelling “Mom! Did you see what I just did!”. A very ideal group for testing from a design point of view.
When testing something with children it is important to “go down to their level”. Problem situations need to be figured out together, with the rules and views of the children. “Oh I don’t know, sadly. How would you solve this problem?” This gives the most valuable feedback on the approaches to developing user interfaces suitable for children’s applications.

The Development of Denny® The Tooth is largely based on hearing, seeing and experiencing the children’s interactions with Denny through extensive usability testing. We love listening to the children’s opinions and it is something we take very seriously. Denny® The Tooth has already been tested with approximately 60 children before launch. They will continue to be a major part in our development in the years to come.

Panu Pasanen
​Lead Designer 
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​Denny® The Tooth -applikaation pilottitutkimus lapsilla