METHODS & PRACTICES

Considerations When Testing With Children

Discover

Time

  • Children have short attention spans. 30 minutes to an hour is the recommended testing time.
  • Test in short bursts and give intervals. Include breaks for play. Don’t cram too much into the hour.

Environment

  • Environment  and time where it is tested is really important. Kids have very defined time schedules and places where they are at different times of the day.
  • Consider doing the test in an environment in their own house or playground. Where they feel natural. If in a foreign environment give them time to adjust to it. Consider repeated intervals. Results change as they get more familiar with environment

Physical

  • Consider how children will use your product. e.g. children have small hands so they need bigger touch targets and rest palms on screen while using.
  • Children of different ages (0-5, 6-10, 10-15, 15-18) act very differently

Consider the role of guardians and caretakers

  • They will always see you as an authority figure
  • Kids look to adults for small signals and change their behaviour around them. So you get a biased result when you have them there. Keep this in mind.
  • In a design sprint, it is common to start ignoring kids to get work done fast. Adults in the tests often overrule kids and tell them ‘no, that is not what you think’
  • Think of how kids parents and caretakers are affected by your product. E.g. toy packages are mainly for adults, even if toys are for children

Avoid Rigidly Structured  Tests

  • If you create a testing framework thats too defined, you’re getting your own perspective. Not the kid’s. You’re defining boundaries that the kid doesn’t have in real life. No rigid instructions.
  • Consider giving them tasks instead of instructions if absolutely necessary

Peers

  • Kids act more naturally and talk like kids when they have peers around them, as opposed to doing the test alone with adults
  • A good method is to ask them to discuss with other kids why they use service / what they like / dislike