Ongoing Project

UX Design

User Research

Product Design


From an early age, Brooke, my partner, and I personally had speech impediments that hindered our verbal communication abilities. We know we are not alone and decided to go and solve this problem. The benefits of speech therapy extend beyond just speech correction. It can boost a child's self-assurance and their capacity to communicate effectively.

For our masters' thesis, my partner and I embarked on a mission to make speech therapy affordable and accessible for families from all backgrounds.


Lead UX Designer, Co-Founder


August 2022 - Current


Figma, Adobe Suite

At a glance
Product Preview.

Outcome: To create an minimum viable product in order to gain funding from investors

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AI Powered Curriculum and Tasks

VocalR will organize daily tasks to ensure tangible and lasting results, providing users with a comprehensive and effective approach to improving their speech skills.

Play Speech Therapy Games

VocalR games will assist users in speech repetition and practice, a well-known method endorsed by speech-language pathologists (SLPs) for correcting speech impediments.

Earn Rewards and "Koins"

An effective reward system ensures that users will return every day, eager to play more and enhance their skills.



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?

57 Million

children 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.


of children in the United States, of children aged three to seventeen have been reported to experience speech, voice, language, or swallowing disorders in the past year. Studies show that speech therapy stands out as the most effective remedy for these reported conditions.

To start our research, we identified speech therapy trends and identified a problem.

We needed to discover the speech therapy market. Research helped us find an opportunity for our product.



What is speech therapy? What do experts say about the field?

A speech disorder is a challenge with speech sound perception, motor production, and phonological representation. Speech-language pathologists engage in interactive sessions that utilize play and visual aids to promote language development.

Economic Problems

  • Children under three can qualify for early intervention public services through guidelines provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
  • Private speech therapy is costly, often with minimal insurance coverage, averaging between $100 and $300 per hour.

Covid-19 Impact

  • The speech therapy market has been significantly affected by COVID-19, resulting in heightened patient demand.
  • Evidence suggests that the supply and demand imbalance, brought about by COVID-19, is persisting due to the market's underlying growth trend.

The Problem

Research indicates that numerous children face difficulties in accessing speech therapy due to high costs and government qualifications. Additionally, speech therapy methods often do not align with parents' schedules, and a shortage of speech therapists further complicates accessibility. Consistent therapy sessions several times a week, along with daily practice, yield the most effective results but can also pose challenges to maintain.


An opportunity arises to create an at-home and immersive speech therapy solution. Our idea can aid children, regardless of age or economic background, in accessing speech therapy.

Solution Finding
To arrive at a solution, our journey began with initial interviews and persona building.

These conversations helped pinpoint the key priorities of speech therapists, parents, and the children requiring speech therapy.



Interviewing People in the Speech Therapy Space

Initially, we knew we had to speak to people involved in the speech therapy industry. We went to three different people.

Mary Pat

Speech Language Pathologist in Lodi, California

Cristy Owen

Speech Language Therapist in Newport Beach

Katie W.

Has a daughter that goes to speech therapy

Essential interview findings:

  • Play is essential and repetition of daily practice strategies is necessary.
  • Each child is different and has different needs so it is important to teach concepts not words.
  • There is a link between speech therapy and children who have a learning disability.
  • There is a shortage of therapists which is normalizing Zoom and Telehealth in the field.


Meet John and Amy

Based off of our research and interviews, we created two personas. This helped us understand our product's priorities.


Age 10
5th Grade

John has had a lisp ever since he started talking. It doesn’t affect the way he performs in school, however, his parents think that it might affect his future. John’s parents think that they should intervene before he goes to middle school. They do not believe they can afford the therapy.


Age 5

Amy is a kindergartener struggling with a stutter. She has trouble making friends with others and is falling behind. Her mother has known about the stutter for a while and thinks it’s the right time to look for therapy. However, her child is now 5 and she does not know where to look because her daughter is too old for government aid.

These interviews and personas helped us create the idea of VocalR. We asked ourselves: How can we create a product that enforces play and repetition in an effective way?


Deciding on core mission statements

Core mission statements were crafted to remind us of what our product stands for. These statements were utilized to ideate on two potential solutions.

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 replace the need for an in-person speech therapist and be just as effective.


A virtual reality product

The initial solution we arrived at was a product that utilized virtual reality to educate children in an immersive space.

Solution #1

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.

Ellie - Initial VocalR Mascot
Initial Gameplay Storyboards
A rough mockup of our VR solution


A mobile product that leverages AI

Our second hypothesis was that AI could be implemented to recognize speech patterns and create customized speech improvement plans for children.

Solution #2

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.

Business Model
We conducted market research to optimize our service for profitable outcomes.

Our findings have provided us with valuable insights, enabling us to solidify our position against the competition.

Business Plan.


Validating our market size to back our findings

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.


Crafting a business plan that defines our revenue streams

Since there is an absence of competition, the market for speech therapy is little to none. Most alternative speech therapy options do not advance with the child’s improvement.

Design Research
I started with desk research that helped me envision the feel and gameplay of the app.

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.

Design Plan.


Competitor research

Current speech therapy apps on the market focus on play accompanied by a certified speech therapist.

I assessed that users looking for speech therapy apps like:

  • Data-driven results

  • Personalized features

  • Visuals and images

While some of their pain points included:

  • Hidden costs are too high

  • More prompting for the child is needed

While some of their pain points included:

  • Self-teachable (for a child)

  • Motivating and goal oriented

  • Data-driven


Setting goals to ensure VocalR's success

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.


Success would look like creating an app where a child can reach their speech goals without supervision.


Success would look like motivating and engaging children to continue their practice and learn from their mistakes.


Using SLP-certified curriculums to create goal-oriented games.


Implementing visually beautiful, personalized, and intuitive content.

Design Process
Introducing the VocalR Child App.

Our main focus was to build out the child-facing app first so we could showcase the gameplay as our MVP.


How does a user interact with the VocalR app?

From the beginning, it was clear that our app required diverse approaches. While children form a primary user group, parents also play an important role in overseeing progress.

Amy comes home from school and greets her mom
Amy's mom let's Amy play her daily VocalR lesson
Amy first practices with her flashcards
Amy vocally responds to the app and it learns from her mistakes
For successfully completing her flashcard game, Amy earns "Koins"
Amy uses "Koins" to buy special add-ons for her character
Amy wants to earn more. She plays a competitive game
Amy practices more with the app and plays head-to-head with the VocalR community
Lulu the Kangaroo congratulates Amy for her hard work. She earns "Koins"
Everyday Amy improves her speech impediment. There are audible results


Branding guidelines and visual identity

We realized that the game needed an overarching theme, so we settled on the theme of "expedition."


During the transition from mid to hi-fidelity design, I listened to feedback that emphasized refining the user flow

I opted to focus on showcasing the 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.


Home Screen

The home screen serves as a guided task list for 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.


Rewards and add-ons

Use "Koins" to purchase a wide array of wearable items for your in-game avatar. Personalize your virtual character with stylish outfits, accessories, and unique items, creating a customized and visually appealing presence in the game world.



The community merges two ideas: The user’s profile and their friend communities. 

The user's profile serves as the starting point, presenting a standard view with badges and groups. Clicking on badges reveals a detailed view of the rewards, while the group page provides information about friends in your circles. You can also view weekly leaderboards and add new friends as you continue playing.



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 both the daily game and completed games from previous days. Popups serve as significant notifications, guiding you to the games. Additionally, there's a button for daily assessments, offering children the opportunity to earn substantial "Koins."



A game like Tik-Tak Talk features complex visual landscapes, competitive play, and illustration.

Tik-Tak Talk is a competitive game within the app where players can choose to place tiles to win a version of tic-tac-toe.

When a player decides to place a piece, they must say a word related to the curriculum. If the app recognizes the correct pronunciation, they can play the piece.

If the player doesn't pronounce it correctly, they will receive tips for improvement and be prompted to speak again. Additionally, players who accumulate enough points overall will be rewarded with a new item or game board!

The current MVP and reflections

We're in the process of involving a developer and game designer to ensure that our concept translates well into the games. We've already engaged 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.

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