Helpful Tips on How To Start Testing Mobile Apps for Kids
In today’s mobile age, it’s not uncommon for a child to use a mobile device before they’re able to speak. By the age of 8, nearly three-quarters of children in the United States have used a smartphone, tablet or similar device. Perform a quick search of any major public app store and you will find no shortage of mobile apps for kids aimed at users under 18.
The children’s app market is a lucrative one, and mobile apps for kids should not be ignored. However, designing and testing apps for younger users is not without its challenges. From a testing standpoint, mobile apps for kids should meet all the quality hallmarks of a normal application. Things like a snappy performance, clear and crisp design and a robust interface are important. In addition to this, testers and quality assurance analysts need to also keep a few things in mind.
Understand your target demographic
An app that appeals to three year old’s will look much different than one intended for 10 to 12 year old’s. Your team will benefit from identifying a specific target age range during the design and development stages, and testers should carry this into their testing.
From a quality assurance and usability perspective, the content and actions available in the application need to be comprehensible with regard to your target audience. Pay special attention to apps intended for very young users who may have limited dexterity. Make sure interfaces in these instances offer user controls of appropriate size and sensitivity.
Keep parents in mind
Even though your app is for kids, it is generally up to parents whether or not to download it and approve any in-app spending. In many cases, children who are too young to own their own mobile device will have their apps stored on their parents’ devices. With this in mind, testers should pay close attention to download, update and sign-in (if applicable) features of children’s apps.
Ideally, apps intended for younger users should be pretty seamless to download and log in to. Furthermore, alert and volume settings need to be responsive and configurable. This will allow parents to quickly and easily make changes so the app does not interfere with their day-to-day mobile activities.
Exploratory testing is a must
Exploratory testing is a must on any application, but it is especially important for children’s apps. Kids tend to be unpredictable users. With shorter attention spans than adults, younger users have abbreviated user sessions and switch between apps frequently. This, along with a wide range of interrupt testing, should be reflecting in your testing approach. Progress beyond typical user behavior. Make sure your app is robust enough to stand up against frequently switching between screens, modes, etc.
Test your mobile apps for kids with actual kids
Children themselves are a great testing resource and make excellent beta testers. Working with kids does not need to be a formal process. The most important part of letting younger users test apps is eliciting useful feedback. Make sure to ask questions based on each user’s age and avoid asking yes/no questions. For instance, ask questions like: what did you like about the game? Avoid questions like: did you like the game? Another good technique is to ask kids to show you things they liked and didn’t like directly in the app. Not only does this provide you with more clarity on their opinions, but it also gives you direct insight into how they interact with your application.