Scroll to see more
Lead UX Designer
We know we are not alone and decided to go and solve this problem. In fact, 57 million kids between the ages of 3 and 17 have also been affected by speech in JUST in the past year within the United States. Based on personal experience, we know that children who don't get speech therapy early are at a greater risk of problems in their academic performance and mental health.
What if there was a way to make speech therapy more accessible to all? How can we help children feel more confident about their speech?
We needed to discover the speech therapy market. Research helped us find an opportunity for our product.
These conversations helped pinpoint the key priorities of speech therapists, parents, and the children requiring speech therapy.
Speech Language Pathologist in Lodi, California
Speech Language Therapist in Newport Beach
Has a daughter that goes to speech therapy
VocalR’s curriculum will help children fix speech impediments through games
VocalR will be used on a need basis. Children will learn at their own pace
VocalR’s use of AI will drive the cost of speech therapy down
VocalR will be able to replace the need for an in-person speech therapist and be just as effective
The first solution we landed on was a product that used virtual reality to educate children in an immersive space. We predicted that the cost of VR for a family would be more cost-effective than in-person therapy. However, roadblocks emerged when we noticed that it would be too hard to monitor a child's mouth movements with a headset on. Further analysis revealed that the VR headset is somewhat ineffective and could be replaced by a mobile device.
Our second hypothesis was that AI could be implemented to recognize speech patterns and create customized speech improvement plans for children. Leveraging AI technologies to generate lesson plans could provide our product with a unique selling point. Additionally, this approach would enable us to stick with a familiar mobile platform, thereby enhancing the accessibility and reach of our solution.
Our findings have provided us with valuable insights, enabling us to solidify our position against the competition.
The speech therapy industry is quite large. In 2021, it was worth $9.9 billion dollars in 2021 and is expected to be a $17 billion industry by 2031.
Since there is an absence of fierce competition, the market for speech therapy is little to none. Most alternative speech therapy options do not advance with the child’s improvement and are instead only apps that aid licensed speech therapists.
After we planned our business model, we needed to create a basic version of our app to show to investors (MVP). I was in charge of developing the user experience.
Current speech therapy apps on the market today focus on the use of play accompanied by a certified speech therapist. How might we create an app that is self-taught, and engages a child to set their own achievable goals? VocalR must be accessible, affordable, and effective.
Visuals and images
Hidden costs are too high
More prompting for the child is needed
Self-teachable (for a child)
Motivating and goal oriented
Our main focus was to build out the child-facing app first so we could showcase the gameplay.
From the beginning, it became clear that our app required different approaches for its users. While children form a primary user group, parents also play an important role in overseeing progress.
We realized that the game needed an overarching theme, so we settled on the idea of an "expedition."
During the transition from mid-fidelity to hi-fidelity design, I took into account feedback that emphasized refining the app's navigation and user flow. I opted to streamline and focus on showcasing the key features we consider most essential. This led to simplifying the navigation bar to include just Home, Community, and Play.
Additionally, I dedicated more effort to enhancing the onboarding screens, aiming to create a comprehensive and straightforward diagnosis process for children.
The onboarding screens are designed for data collection and diagnosis, with a key focus on incorporating a video diagnosis feature. We've already developed AI-based code capable of detecting different speech issues and providing advice. Our goal is for our code to identify various speech impediments and offer relevant speech therapy recommendations.
Additionally, if a parent has previously had their child diagnosed, they can upload relevant documents here. This information will enable the app to suggest a suitable program based on the child's specific impediment.
The home screen serves as a guided task list for children's learning. It starts with a to-do list suggesting they review flashcards, engage in the game of the day, and then complete an assessment.
Activities offer chances to earn "Koins," our reward tokens. Koins are earned through lessons, daily assessments, streaks (consecutive practice days), and milestones. Additionally, Badges visually represent language learning progress and dedication. Earned by gaining a certain amount of Koins, badges unlock bonus lessons and cultural insights, enriching the learning experience.
Under the to-do list, rewards are clearly indicated, showing your progress towards earning a new badge. A progress counter near the end tracks your overall advancement in VocalR and your daily streaks.
The home screen also provides a link to the flashcards section. This page offers practice options for words a child has struggled with before. For example, if a child is working on "S" sounds due to a lisp, they can see the "S" words they encountered in previous games and assessments, along with their accuracy.
Additionally, you can access tips and advice to improve your "S" sounds. These pointers help children correct recurring mistakes.
The community merges two ideas: The user’s profile and their friend communities. The user's profile serves as the starting point. It's a standard profile displaying badges and groups. Clicking on badges reveals a detailed view of the rewards.The group page presents information about friends in your circles. You can view weekly leaderboards and add new friends as you continue playing.
Within a friend's profile, you can access details about their badges and VocalR journey.
You can also modify your speech goals on your profile. Here, you can identify your speech issues, and reevaluate a speech impediment if you encounter any changes.
The gameplay of the app revolves on the concept of Koins and Badges. As mentioned before, Koins could be earned while playing games.
The game board displays the current daily game and completed games from previous days. Once games are created by a game designer, you can access them via the provided buttons.
Popups serve as significant notifications to guide you to the games. Additionally, there's a button for daily assessments, which provide children the opportunity to earn substantial Koins.
We're in the process of involving a developer and game designer to ensure our concept translates well into the games. We've already got a coder working on backend code to recognize speech patterns and impediments. However, we're still seeking a coder for comprehensive coding and game development. We've identified potential candidates and plan to approach investors once these screens are shared with them.
The next steps involve presenting these screens to investors. With well-prepared business decks and a tangible product, we're poised to convey our idea effectively.
Over the past year, I've gained valuable insights into startups and business models. Prioritizing essential needs over wants has been a crucial lesson. I'm enthusiastic about the project's future, excited to launch it, and make quality speech therapy accessible to all.