Creating apps for kids

I’m that kind of dad who gives the iPad to my son once or twice a day. I accept that a parent sometimes needs 5-10 minutes break and the iPad could make this period even longer, if I would allow it. But we need a constant monitoring what is happening on the screen.

E.g. Youtube for Kids is not available everywhere around the world and it is not that hard to find anything inapropriate on the web.
So it is obvious you will watch all the videos together with your kids. And this is also true for mobile apps. When I find a new game interesting, I usually present the gameplay video to the family then we decide how to continue. If my son likes it, I’m purchasing the app first  to myself to see how it is working. If I accepted it, I’m installing it to the family iPad. Like I did with the Little Builders app.

Why? Because I found so many apps offering themself for free then presenting enormous amount of ads that the game becomes unplayable. It is more regular that free apps offering in-app-purchases for kids! And who gonna pay? Do they have bank accounts? Sallaries? Or they will constantly nag mom and dad to purchase more kitten food for a virtual pet? Nonsense.

App for kids shall serve educational purposes, not an other way to get more money from software development. If you can define what is the information your users can learn from your app, then it is good. If you can sell this in the $0-$5 range, better. If not, and the purpose is just to spend a lot of money in your app because there is no other option to continue playing, then it is a totally wrong way.

My other concern is the playability of the apps. Even in the under 5 category lot of apps are unplayable because there were no tests with the targeted audiences. I mean the app is not developd for small hands with lack of fine motor movements, and sometimes with glitching eyes-hands coordination. E.g. I was looking for a pipe builder game, where there are no other objectives, just to build a network of pipes. If there is a simulated water flow to show where are leaks, it is better. Free, unlimited play without any higher purposes.

The simplest app in the topic had at least 30 levels with increasing difficulty and limited playtime. It was also full of ads. Others were in the paid category with questionable gaming experience even for adults.

So this is why I am developing my next game for kids. And it will be free without IAP and ads. To show, it is not that hard to give something for the younger ones and have respect from their parents.


Finally, version 1.2 is out

In a mere 3.5 days the new version of my Thingspeak client app landed on App Store. Just to ket you know, the next beta is already provided to internal testers with many more functions. I just can’t wait to publish 1.3. 😀