If you have a self-published children’s publication, whether it’s a book, magazine, or any other type of content, the number of options to publish digitally can quickly become overwhelming. We’ve gone pass the dawn of the app, with more kids than ever before are enjoying apps to learn and view content across various mobile devices. There are several questions to consider for your publication’s specific needs when creating a publication app for children. When you’re dealing with apps marketed toward children those questions become even more numerous because there is more to consider about your target audience — as well as your target audiences’ parents who will ultimately be making the decision about whether or not to invest in your app.
Below are six main questions to ask yourself that will help determine the best choice for your publication and your investment in the app.
- How old is the child you’re looking to market towards?
As with any product creation, it’s important to know as much as you can about your target audience before you begin thinking about what your product will look like. This is especially important with kids — children of different ages can be farther along or further behind developmentally than one another, so a younger child might have difficulty engaging with a particular app interaction that an older child might not. Make sure you know the age range that you’re targeting and whether or not they’ll be able to handle the interactions you have in mind.
- What kinds of interactions does it require? (Affects whether you need a custom app or not)
Certain app interactions are easier to program than others. If you only want the simplest interactions to get your publication out there in the hands of users, then you won’t have to invest as much as you would if you needed more complex interactions. If you do want those tougher interactions, however, you’ll probably need a custom app build, which will require a larger investment to achieve. You can take your cues from what the rest of the children’s apps on the marketplace are doing and apply them to your own unique idea. This way, you’ll know that the interactions you want for your app are already kid-tested. Below are the three most popular interactions for children’s apps, all of which can be added to a platform-based app for little to no additional cost — but without forsaking quality, of course.
(a) Touch Screen Interactions
Kids LOVE to touch the screen and move items around. This feature can be achieved by most platforms, which enable the interaction without having to invest in a custom app. The cost to add a feature like this can be achieved as an add-on custom feature to a platform-based app, and works like a charm!
(b) Sounds and Music
There is nothing like adding sounds and music to an app to keep kids excited and engaged. A music overlay will usually cost nothing extra on a platform-based app, and to add specific sounds to any touch feature can be built as an add-on, again allowing you to keep your cost way down with an interaction that kids love.
Adding a voiceover to your app, whether for a story or having a voice guide a child through the rules of the game, congratulating them when the win and letting them know when their time is up, is another feature that keeps kids engaged and wanting to learn more. It is also a feature that will usually not cost extra on a platform-based app, and just an extra cost to make it custom.
- How often is your publication distributed?
The amount of times that any particular publication is distributed in a year can greatly affect both the cost of each issue and the return you get on that investment. This is also true when channeling that publication through an app: if your publication is distributed once every week, you’re more likely to get readers downloading using your app on a more frequent basis; you might then choose to invest more money into building your app from the outset, because you’ll have a much more consistent base of users than you might if your publication only distributes once a year.
- From where are the kids consuming content?
You should know exactly where the children lives online, which determines how and when they are going to be reading it. If you have a book or magazine about board games with a niche following, investing in a native app that gives you the opportunity to build custom board game design features will undoubtedly pay for itself. You would do well with a sophisticated and reliable platform that delivers stunning publications from an HTML5 version in app form.
- What do the kids want?
This seems like an obvious answer, but when you really stop to look at the profile of your specific readership you will find they all have very specific interests in common when it comes to your children’s publication. For example, if you know your readers love to see story characters in as much detail as possible, you should place ample emphasis on creating custom features that allow the child to tap, pinch and enlarge the features, while being able to tap and link the characters directly from your blog or website.
- What will the children want to share?
In this day and age, kids love to be able to share things as much as adults do! They find online as easily as possible with friends. Whether you’re publishing a book on fairy tales or a magazine on Disney characters, kids will share what they perceive as valuable in say if you make it easy for them. You don’t always need a native app to provide this, depending on the type of content you provide. Apps are a massive market, and kids are actually using them. So we know for a fact that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, hence they can become a valuable commodity for a kids’ publication that utilizes the right approach when creating one. If you realize, otherwise, that an app is not for your children’s publication, you can always choose to invest in an HTML 5 flipbook. There are tons of solutions available in the market that can host your publication and make it viewable on all digital devices.
It’s not only time-efficient, but also cost-efficient to hire a digital publishing company if you don’t want to lift a finger. All you have to do is send them a PDF of your publication. They then host that PDF on their platform where they convert it into an HTML5 version that lets your readers view it on any device. Whether it is being viewed on a mobile phone, a tablet or a computer, your children’s publication will appear stunningly clear and it will give your little readers a full interactive experience each time they read your publication. Once you have the above guide questions answered, you can more easily determine the right solutions provider to best suit your needs. You can make a more sound decision about your financial investment by having a better idea of your potential ROI.
Alexis specializes in supporting, connecting and educating publishers and artists of all disciplines about the best online and mobile business-building solutions. She is the Director of Business Development in the U.S. for Realview Digital, and is passionate about helping publishers and artists expand their work in the digital space.