When Designing for Kids, make it Childlike, not Childish

Why I became a designer
Before studying design I was working in theatre – both on stage and off. During this time I found myself being more and more drawn towards scenography and its often important part of the storytelling. It helps to guide the viewer into the world that has been created on stage and make them believe they too are part of it. I found it fascinating that objects and experiences can have such a big impact on people. This is what got me into design.

Studying in Kolding
My time in Kolding taught me one key focus, that in order to create good design, there needs to be a good reason behind it.

Good design often goes unnoticed by the user. It becomes a given, something that adds value to a total experience. Therefore design alone does not constitute the whole experience. A total experience also incorporates business, marketing, sustainable production and strong communication (as a minimum). This combination is still the main driver for me in my design work today and the reason I enjoy working within a team that is a mix of countless skill sets and different professions.

There is nothing I would like more than to spend every day with people I can learn something from and share my input with. Kolding was where I found my passion for interaction design – the profession I work in today. To me, interaction design is all about how we use everyday things – both digitally and physically – and that mixture, where both parts are equally important, is the glue that holds a good user experience together.

One fond memory of arriving in Kolding for the first time was my sheer excitement at starting my new education. That excitement was quickly dampened by the realization of how small a town Kolding really was! That said, the years I spent there turned out to be some of the best of my life and where I made some great friends.

Designing for kids
These days I can be found designing for kids. Often when I see a design that is aimed at kids, it is something that is quite literally a simplified or “dumbed down” version of an experience for adults. But designing for kids is not designing for smaller or less intelligent adults! It is so much more, and in my opinion, much harder. Adults are often more forgiving towards an ‘imperfect’ experience, whereas kids have very little patience; if they don’t like it within 30 seconds, they simply move on to something new. What they lack in patience, they have tenfold in imagination! Adults tend to look at an experience and say, “It looks fun, but I don’t get it,” but when a kid really gets it right, he or she will say “I get it. It’s fun!” That’s the point when you know you have created something great.

My point is: when designing for kids, remember to make it childlike, not childish!