Children as Advisors

One of the things we all found fascinating when iPads first hit the market, was that they were so simple that infants could use them. Children became the new litmus test of simplicity in interface design.

(They were so simple, that older individuals were actually confused because they weren’t complex.)

The other day, I was helping a six-year-old write a story about a sleepover she had. Her style was very simple. “My name is…”, “my friend picked me up at…”, “we did this…”.

I explained, “maybe you want to add a time-of-day when your friend picked you up so that you can help the reader’s imagination establish a setting?”. Nope, not having it.

Through this process it helped me see writing again at the most basic structure.

We often ask our peers and colleagues their opinion on what we design, build or write. Many times, it gets more complex the more help we solicit – especially if it becomes design by committee.

Next time you design an interface or write copy for a site or post, ask a group of children. I’m not saying that it will result in your final product, but it will certainly keep you in check from a “simplicity of use” and “clarity of communication” perspective.

Children make great advisors.

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