Multi-touch handling for Kid’s Apps in Android

Why bother with multi-touch?

I have been noticing my younger daughter play one of our games for a while. Often, she has a thumb or a finger on the screen. When she has more than one finger on the screen, the game becomes unresponsive. The normal functioning of the application requires that there is only 1 finger on the screen. Tell that to a 4 year old, and her response –

It doesn’t work, mommy.

The 6 year old is used to making sure she is using only one finger. But, for larger screens, it is easy for her to forget too.

Instead of asking all the users to change what they do naturally, I want to make the app work the way they expect it to.

The Solution

Android supports multi-touch. There are excellent articles describing how to use multi-touch. We started with those and implemented multi-touch handling in the newly released game – First Grade Kids Word Play. Now, when she has a finger on the screen somewhere, the rest of the app still stays responsive.

In the video, she has her thumb on the screen the whole time, and the screen stays responsive. We are still working through issues we see, gradually making the functionality more robust for kids to use. We plan to go back and add multi-touch functionality to our existing apps one-at-a-time too.

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