Kids and Interaction (VI): 125 Universal Principles of Design. Part 2.

This second part is a continuation of the previous analysis of the 125 Universal Design Principles. In this case, I will mention the principles that are easy enough to analyse so they can be included in the database generated previously in the post III. This ones were found in between the last 95 principles of the book Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach Through Design.

When reading the rest of the principles, I realised that a lot of them are useful, although difficult to analyse on site, especially without being able to access the exhibits in person and having to rely on texts, videos and images. Therefore, another post will be dedicated to mention interesting principles for children’s interface design.

The principles and the reasons why they might be interesting are listed below. Some of them will be grouped together because of their similarities.

Important for the exhibition organisation (physical space)

Entry point

The Entry Point principle aims to explain the best ways to give a good first impression of the exhibition. For this, both Points of Prospect and Progressive Lures should be taken into account. The aim is to achieve a good navigation of the space, so that it is not only easy, but also attractive.

The clear example shown in the book is the queues at theme parks, where not only the long queue is hidden, but on the way to the attraction there are various distractions (televisions, stories…).


Similar to the previous principle, the aim is to organise the space in the best possible way. To this end, what are called unobstructed views (prospects) and areas of concealment and retreat (refuges) are taken into account. A good space is one in which people will be able to see what is there without needing to be seen. It is about giving some privacy in a shared space.

In the case of children’s exhibits, you could create walls that resemble mazes.


In this principle, many points are taken into account, such as orientation and decision making.

For a children’s exhibition, it may be interesting to allow them freedom of play and discovery, but there may be other installations that seek order, so a navigation map could be included to give the children a sense of adventure (immersion).


In order to get the user to concentrate on the installation, it is necessary to distract them from the real world. That’s why the installations that provide the most fun and satisfaction are those that get the user out of the real world and into the adventure.

As previously mentioned in the Wayfinding principle, it can be interesting for the child to experience his or her own adventure with a map of the room included.


In order to attract users, it often helps to use storytelling, i.e. a story that brings the user closer to the content of the exhibition.

This detail can help the child’s immersion much more, as having a story that guides them through the different points could be a favourable detail.

Savana Preference

Related to the principle of Biophilia Effect (seen in the previous post), this indicates that savannah landscapes are usually preferred over other landscapes.

The book itself explains that this is a very common detail in the perception of children, who prefer more park-like spaces.

Important for the way of showing information


It is important how much text we want to highlight using highlighting methods such as bold, italics or underlining. However, it is important not to overuse this concept.

You can use methods such as colours, typeface or even the blinking effect (which is used more in lights than in text).


In the same way, the text sizes as well as the contrast of the background with the text have to be taken into account.

This can be a difficult principle to analyse from photos or videos alone, but it can be reduced to questions posed in post III such as:
Is the text size large?
How much text is there?

Iconic Representation

This was an important point mentioned in previous posts, since when looking at interfaces aimed at children, they tend to take everything they see seriously. That is why special attention should be paid to the type of icon displayed. The most appropriate for children would be similarity (images that are visually analogous) and examples (commonly associated).

Picture Superiority Effect

This principle seems obvious, but it becomes even more important when addressing children. As discussed in post II, it is important to reduce the amount of text in interfaces aimed at children and increase the amount of images. In the end, images are remembered much more than text.


Lidwell, W., Holden, K., Butler, J., & Elam, K. (2010). Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach Through Design. Rockport Publishers.

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