If your child wanted to look at Batman or Wolverine online – whether playing games, reading digital comics or watching videos – both Marvel and DC Comics offer a website specifically designed for kids that can be found on their main home pages. Both offer straightforward domain names – marvelkids.com and dckids.com – but which one is more appealing to kids?
Design – There didn’t seem to be much imagination behind DCKids. It’s disappointing to see a blank blue background and four different colored sections in the middle of the page to distinguish the four sections one can choose to go deeper in the site. Above the four sections there is a top banner that introduces the viewer to a character named “Johnny DC” that looks about exciting as a glass of milk.
MarvelKids on the other hand, is loaded with graphics to welcome youngsters: a distinctive logo, large images and a gallery row of the more popular Marvel superheroes that includes Franklin Richards, the son of Reed Richards and Susan Storm of the Fantastic Four. The links on the website are in large, colorful buttons that are well placed. Overall, there is a harmonious cohesiveness that invites the viewer whether child or parent to start browsing.
Navigation – MarvelKids has a top bar button navigation. When you drag your mouse over any of these buttons, the button enlarges. For DCKids, navigation boils down to clicking on any one of the four colored box sections based on product. Sadly, no navigation is based on superheroes.
Content – You can probably tell where this is going: MarvelKids is the slam-dunk winner to DCKids in content. Marvel offers games, puzzles, coloring pages, mazes, videos and links to downloading recent animated superhero episodes via iTunes such as Wolverine and the X-Men. Each superhero (Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, The Thing, Captain America, X-Men, Silver Surfer, Avengers, Iron Man and Spider-Girl) has a webpage that offers a brief bio, a different fun fact when you refresh the page, wallpapers, and digital comics. There is also a parents’ section to serve as an About Us write-up. Meanwhile DCKids offers links to comics, books, toys, and stuff. The comics’ link led to a simply designed product page of a Looney Tunes comic. There is a price for the comic but you cannot buy it which makes sense if kids were on this page. For the books and toys sections, there are no images of products, just a long list of links to each product as if it had been slapped together in 1996. For the stuff section, DC offers just two digital comics and two online games. Missing are graphics and information about Batman, Superman and other DC superheroes.
Kudos goes to Marvel for providing a rich, interactive experience for kids.
As for DC Comics, what does this say about how they deem their young fans?
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