Chat with Your Kids in a Whole New Way

An app redesign for Toymail

Introduction

Toymail is an innovative way for parents to communicate with their children. The child records a voice message through their toy (shown below) and the parent can listen to it via the app. After receiving a message, the parent can then reply by recording a message and sending it via the app. This innovative communication method between parent/child is meant to give family a method to communicate in a fun and efficient manner while avoiding the early use of a screen device by the child.

Interaction between parent and child

We decided to redesign the app for the parents so that it would be easy and efficient to use while adopting a simple and minimalistic design.

As we were brainstorming and developing the redesign, we considered finding answers to the following questions:

  1. Who would use this app and what would they be looking to get out of it?
  2. What are the main functions that we need to include in the app so that it meets all the important needs for the user?
  3. If we could add a new functionality via a different technology, what would our users value?

Redesign

From extensive mockup iterations, user testing, and critique feedback we arrived to the following redesign. Please take a look at our app and let us know what you think!

The image below is INTERACTIVE. Please click on the play icon to start using it.

Task #1: Sending a Message Via Voice

In order to send a voice message, we wanted the parent to have access to a simple, clean and intuitive interface. Once a parent listens to their child’s message, they have the option of replying via text or voice. To reply via voice they would tap the “Reply by Voice” button that leads them to the voice recording screen. At this point, the “send” button will not be operational as the parent hasn’t recorded any messages yet. They first need to hit the red circle button to start recording and press it again to stop it. Afterwards, the “Send” button will turn on so that the message can be sent to the child’s toy. The parent will be able to confirm delivery of the recording through the chat screen and learn when the child has listened to the message by seeing a “Heard ____ (time)” text appear at the bottom of their profile image for the respective message.

Task #2: Sending a Message Via Text

The app also allows users to reply via text. Replying via text works in a similar manner to replying via voice. To reply via text the user would tap the “Reply by Text” button. Tapping the button will bring up the text box while remaining on the chat room screen making it convenient for the user to reply by typing and hitting send.

Task #3: Adding a New Contact

The app allows users to add their kids, and corresponding toys, to the contact list. We designed this function to be comprehensive so that it prompts the user for all important information while remaining straightforward and easy to use. The user is able to add their child’s name (we anticipated most parents would only add their first names, but left the option for last names) and a picture of the child. The user has the versatility of connecting the toy by either inputting the corresponding serial number OR scanning the toy’s QR Code. Throughout our design process we believed it was important that the user knew when the contact has been successfully added, therefore we added a screen that shows the user a confirmation message. The steps taken to add a contact can be seen in the image provided.

Feedback

Thank you so much for taking the time to check out our redesign. We welcome your feedback through this form!

by Yuta Inumaru and Abraham Galindo

Disclaimer: We are not employees, representatives or affiliates of Toymail. The redesign was completed as part of an assignment for an undergraduate computer science course.

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