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Enjoyable designs for children should be focussed on developing an ideal experience.

Catalina Naranjo-Bock (2011) notes that: “one of the biggest challenges of designing experiences for children is making them age-appropriate”.

User Experience design (UX) methods are a useful way to address such issues as they involve working with children, besides co-creating with stakeholders and clients invested in a project.


We are versed in UX methods and have also developed our own, through application to research and commercial projects. You can read more about our services here.

On this page you can read about the different aspects of developing an ideal experience:

Co-designing with children

Considering the situation of use

Modelling an experience and flow

Using design guidelines and principles

How these aspects combine into a design thinking approach


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Fun and experiences
new Lily Game layout.jpg


One way to guarantee an ideal experience is to include children in the design process. Young people can be effective creative partners and should be involved as early as possible (Druin, 1999; Garzotto, 2008; Garzotto, 2011). Methods need to be clear, enjoyable and reveal both latent and tacit needs. They should also avoid pressure on the child and address safety considerations.

More about the needs of children and appropriate methods are discussed on a separate page here.


User Experience design (UX) also recognises the importance of the environment and situation of use, often described as 'contextual' factors. As toys and games are increasingly responsive to their environment and context, this becomes even more important.

Our ‘experience mapping’ process can help to outline areas of a consideration across both the virtual to the real world to make sure everything is investigated when we develop a potential game adventure. This spans from the available features, key messages and activities to suitable characters and objects in the game.

An example is shown in the diagram.

We have also developed a series of design guidelines for generic location based games, which are available on request.



But what is 'an ideal experience'? It can be likened to being a ‘state of Flow’. Flow is a feeling of being totally absorbed in an activity, to the point where other distractions fade away and you lose all sense of time or self, originally described by Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi (1990).  

We have adapted the original model of flow  to create a framework for understanding what makes games ideal. This involves focus, appropriate goals and challenges and a sense of control.  It is also important to address key emotional needs and relationships. 




Interaction principles provide guidelines about how to design digital or 3D interfaces to enable user satisfaction and usability principles make sure that it can be fit for purpose.


The perspective of the child can be aligned with expert theory, in these areas.

We have a separate web site here. to more about Interaction Design principles for creating usable and appealing products




Our focus is on creating socially responsible, inclusive solutions for digital and three-dimensional products. This requires a child-centric, design thinking approach.


“Design thinking is a human - centred approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, ”  Tim Brown, IDEO

The process involves creating empathy with the child through a “Discover” process, interpreting these findings to further “Define” them and creating during a “Design” phase. Ideas can be prototyped and analysed as we “Develop” them and then communicated in a more final form, through "Dissemination”. Often these phases overlap.

We can provide any of these phases as separate services, see here for more information.

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