Debra Gelman is a researcher, designer, and strategist in the field of interactive children’s media. She creates sites, apps, and virtual worlds for clients including PBS Kids Sprout, Scholastic, Crayola, Pepperidge Farm, Campbell’s Soup, and Georgia Public Television. Deb led the research and design of Planet Orange—a site designed to teach first through sixth graders financial literacy—which won a USA Today Education “Best Bet” award. Deb holds undergraduate degrees in visual media and psychology from American University, and a master’s in information design and technology from Georgia Tech. She lives in the Philadelphia area with her very patient husband and her precocious daughter, who wants to be a princess paleontologist when she grows up. Deb’s book, Design for Kids, is currently available from Rosenfeld Media. Twitter: @dgelman
Contributions by Debra Levin Gelman
Kids these days. When they're not on our lawn, they're using the web in some pretty unique ways. Debra Levin Gelman encourages us to take their needs into account and offers a fresh new method to help us design social tools for kids ages 8–12.
Full of knowledge and creativity but not yet quite able to read, kids from ages 4 to 6 occupy a “muddy middle” for designers—they’re too old for toddler games, but too young for most apps and games made for “big kids.” Learn how to understand this group in this excerpt from Deb Gelman’s book, Design for Kids, out now from Rosenfeld Media.
How do you define fun on the web? Fun means different things to different people. Debra Levin Gelman says that to create fun, we need to allow users to create, play, and explore. Learn how to help your client define fun, rank its importance on their site, and user test it to create a delightful experience, regardless of whether you're designing for suits and ties or the sandbox crowd.
Designing websites for kids is a fascinating, challenging, rewarding, and exasperating experience: You’re trying to create a digital experience for people who lack the cognitive capacity to understand abstraction; to establish brand loyalty with people who are influenced almost exclusively by their peers; and to communicate subjective value propositions to people who can only see things in black-and-white. Fortunately, it’s possible to create a successful registration process for these folks with an understanding of how their brains work. Debra Levin Gelman explores how to design effective registration forms for kids based on their context, technical skills, and cognitive capabilities.