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Speech therapy powered by story telling and machine learning. 

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The Basics

Role:  UX / UI designer, story writer, rewards system creator. 

As a second term project, the basic user flow of Blabl was already created. We wanted to expand on it, create more story content, and incorporate a rewards system to keep children engaged.

Tools: Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Word

Timeframe: 10-weeks in the DALI Lab

Team: Geoffrey Huang D‘19, Jasmine Mai D‘20, Sofia Stanescu-Bellu D‘20

Process:

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What is Blabl?

Not every child with speech impediment has access to speech pathologists, and it can be intimidating to practice in front of others. Children who struggle with speech may also experience negative impacts on their confidence level and academic performance. 

Blabl is an iPad app that encourages speech through storytelling and madlibs.

With Amazon Alexa integration, Blabl helps children with speech impediments practice while away from their pathologists, or get help if they don't have a pathologist at all, while feeling motivated and excited.

In the shoes of a 7 year-old

Blabl's user group is made of up children between the ages of 7 - 12. Throughout our designs, we kept in mind the opportunities and needs of designing for children. 

 

•       Big words are hard. Still learning how to read

•       Instant gratification. Limited Attention spans

•       HUGE imaginations. Anything is possible.     

•       Corny jokes are acceptable. 

We created Lucy and Aidan as our personas. They have very different activity interests, so we knew we needed to have a variety of content generation: everything from princesses to pirates. 

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Building on the previous MVP

Meet Blabi!

A lovable mascot named Blabi accompanies kids on their adventures, cheering them on as they practice madlibs and stories.

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The previous team did a great job outlining the user flow for Geo and I to build on.  However, one area that was confusing for kids what the lack of instruction.  Through sketches, greyscales, and iterations, we decided to user Blablicorn as a vehicle to visually and audibly give instructions. 

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Creating New Themes

When I entered the team, there was on the Space story. Before thikning of stories, we needed to ensure that children were able to navigate Blabl seamlessly, so we created a theme template.  

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Level Description

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MadLib Layout

This layout was extremely helpful when it came to designing the UI for my designated themes: Pirate and Winter.

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Creating New Stories

The story creation process mirrored out theme creation process. In order to keep children engaged, we used a MadLib style of story. This allowed users to create a story that was specific to their imagination and interests. All they had to do was drag and drop and icon to complete the story!

 

Each story followed a consistent template: 

•      A story that is a total of 16 lines long 

•      The story was divided into 4 levels. Each level had 4 lines

•      2 Madlib blanks per line 

•      Matches story theme

 

One of the best (and most challenging) parts of the story creation was allowing myself to write for a child. The majority of my writing in the past few years has been intended for my college professors, where I am trying to be as sophisticated and succinct as possible. With Blabl, I had the opportunity to resort back to childish jokes and an endless imagination. 

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Lessons

Make mistakes. Ask for help.

 

This was my first DALI Project, and I was intimidated by my team's lab experience and

UI / UX talent. However, I couldn't have asked for better inspiration and leaders besides Geo, Sofia, and Jasmin. Their willingness to help me and answer any of my questions made my experience on Blabl so memorable.  

Stepping outside of the college voice

I'm very accustomed to writing college essays, and trying to sound as eloquent as possible. However, writing in the voice of a 7 year old definitely takes some practice. I looked to children's books for inspiration. 

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Geo and I at the 2019 Winter Technigala

Now what?

With more time, I would have loved to implement a variety of features including a shop,  user authentication, analytics report, and generate more content. 

Shop: A shop for the child to spend the coins they earn. Another motivation feature that encourages longer and repeated play. Children can change Blabi's outfit, and win redeem coins. 

Authentication: Make Firebase more robust so the app can comply with privacy regulations required by schools.

Analytics report: Have analytics report send to pathologists or parents. To develop this we need to decide what data we can get, how the data will be displayed and where to access the report.

Content generation: Each story takes 10-15 minutes to complete. We have less than an hour of play content right now with four stories. Having more stories will encourage longer commitment to the app and more icons to encourage replay of the same story.

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