Digital content for kids and Gamification for all

Kids and media

The iPad was claimed to be the most popular “toy” in 2013

websites as we know them are full of information – webstores, tv guides, food recipes, traffic information, weather and so on. this is not the kind of content kids use, most kids don’t know what safari on ipad is for because everything kids want on the web has been moved into apps. so everything that is left is the basic web as we know it without all the fun.

well if we had to design a website for kids what do we need to make sure?

one thing we know is that kids don’t know how to navigate the topmenu in a browser – so it would be wrong to open links in a new window because kids wouldn’t know how to go back to the game/site

kids are not in a hurry to find information, kids are not looking to buy something, they might be convinced during their stay on a website but its not what they came for (the freemium model is a perfect example) – in general kids don’t have a goal when if they come across a website or an App.

Gamification – kids wants to be entertained

what do we do to make a successful experience for kids

first of all we need to get their attention-

attention can be obtained by some sort of motivational factor like a challenge or a competition with clear goals.

hold their motivation – how do we then hold their motivation during their stay, if we look at Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi theory about flow – we can see that it is crucial that the user first of all is presented with a clear task or a challenge – and the challenge is equal to the skill level the user has. this can either be from a cognitive perception or a set of skills the user has obtained in the game or application – and its important that the feedback due to completed tasks is clear to the user so they know when and how to progress to further challenges

to keep the user in a gameplay flow the user can be led by several effects – the learning factor, would be that for each challenge completed the user would learn something new, they then would need to use in the next challenge where they would learn another new thing and so on – this would avoid having a point system or a level system – in wich the user would gain access to new abilities or simply grow in strength while the challenges grow along with the added power –

the result of this is that the user is captured in the flow zone where immersion  and concentration is at its peak…

if we want to use this model at a website we then step into the category of gamification where something not gamelike can be added to the flow model by using simple game play techniques like, challenges and rewards …

if we fail to challenge or motivate the user they will then fall into boredom and exit the application..

Challenge_vs_skillfig a
the graph (fig a) made by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi clearly show that of you give the user too much control they will fall into relaxation and further into boredom, so to keep them in flow they will need to be cycled through

flow-diagramfig b

control and arousal as seen in (fig b)

so how do we tell them what to do to get them started – in most successful games we know that if you make kids “see” they will then neglected the need for instructions – and how do we do that – by making the very first steps very easy they will see what the concept is about and they will quickly find out how to progress on their own…

it is also shown that if you make the task too easy the user will drop out due to boredom

When it comes to motivation – we look at two different options,

  • Extrinsic Motivation (motivation through real prices and goods – very costly and proven not so effective)
  • Intrinsic Motivation (motivation through internal drive and will to proceed and/or succeed)

one of the biggest differences in Extrinsic Motivation vs Intrinsic Motivation – is that Extrinsic can never be truly addictive, and Intrinsic in its right gamification form can be very addictive


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