Thursday, 8 March 2007

Resource discovery: DirectgovKids

This is not good.

DirectgovKids is, in case you hadn't worked it out, Directgov for kids. It is exceptionally poor, and provides an excellent example of how not to design a web presence. Here are a few highlights:

  • Flashturbation. It's not 1998 any more, so we should be beyond this.
  • Patronising language. I haven't been a child for over 10 years now (am I really that old??), but I'm pretty sure I didn't appreciate people talking down to me.
  • Nauseating screen transitions. Seriously, I feel a bit peaky now, and I was planning on hitting the takeaway tonight.
  • Very, very bad games. I spent most of my youth playing point and click adventures, which this site uses as educational tools (see next point). They're counterintuitive and there's nothing for the player to work out him/herself. Each step is signposted pretty clearly.
  • Edutainment. Yuck. It's devious. In my youth, all you got was the moral at the end of a He-Man episode.

Try it out and see if you agree. It's a lost opportunity. It looks like it's been designed by people who thinks they know what children like, without actually *asking* any children.

Here's something positive though: it makes Directgov look good.