#2 Mobile Application ‘AngelTalk’ Development Story!

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Last time we introduced to the AngelTalk application that Samsung SDS has created as part of its social contribution project. Today we will look into the behind the scene story of how AngelTalk was created in the developer’s point of view! Let’s dive into the development story of AngelTalk, the special mobile application made for angels with Angelman syndrome.

First, we needed specific information on how to aid the children and their family members. We went to the children’s home to observe their daily life and to see how they communicated. We were able to keep a close eye on how the child behaved, how the mother dealt with their interactions, and how they communicated. We also had a chance to have deep conversation with the children’s mothers.

# Progressively developing the required functions through user feedback

AngelTalk gradually developed and upgraded its functionalities, slowly taking 1 to 2 weeks in each of its development. As we progressed, we added new functions and improved its usability. Particularly, we met with the children and their parents in order to conduct user tests and find insights for the next implementations.

# Enhancing the effectiveness through color coding

We also attended the linguistic cognitive therapy class in order to observe the behavior of the children. We watched as the teacher led the children and drew their attention in order to repeatedly practice their perception. At that moment, we found something interesting about the children. When the teacher said, “Please give me red!” a child picked up a red ring among other various colored rings and hung it on the teacher’s arm. We thought that understanding words and perceiving objects were almost impossible to the children due to the Angelman syndrome, but somehow it seemed like they were able to perceive notions about colors.

When we asked the teacher and the guardians about this, we were told that they usually liked and respond to primary colors. Fortunately, we were able to hear about color coding methods from other application developers, and based on this method, we applied different and distinct colors to different categories so that the children discriminate different concepts that were hard to distinguish before.

screen▲The application’s screen after the color coding has been applied

# Creating photo cards and sharing them

AngelTalk is an application that uses cards created through photos and videos in order to help people communicate with the children that suffer from the Angelman syndrome. Through user verification, we learned that the children were more responsive to the photos of their actual homes and schools than the ones on the internet. Therefore, we made it so that the user creates the card themselves. To achieve this, we implemented functions like taking pictures, recording images, and adjusting the focus.

We also received a feedback about how they wanted to share the cards that they have created with other people. The cards created by the mothers for their children would be used effectively by other families and the children’s language therapists, so we added a function so that users can share the cards that has been created.

# Developing lock screen for the user

“I can’t even dial 911 because I am on their blacklist.”

This is what one of the guardians said in their interview; the children often spend their time watching their favorite videos with their parent’s smartphone. However, because the children have a hard time using the phone, as they fiddle around with it, they accidentally press the emergency button(911). In order to solve this problem, we created a tailored lock screen for the children. We had to make it so that the children could not easily unlock the screen but at the same time maintain the parent’s usability.

After brainstorming, we developed the application so that the parents could turn on or off the lock screen through the android notification menu and thereby solving the problem.

snd▲ Application lock screen

AngelTalk after one year, even without any advertising, has over 1,000 downloads and over 300 users who are still actively utilizing it. The English version had been included in the initial release so the number of installations is gradually increasing.

ttt▲ The number of downloads by Country

As we participated in the AngelTalk project, we worked with talented developers, planners, and designers, and tried varieties of new technologies. Above all, the process of immersing ourselves into creating an application for children with Angelman syndrome was the most valuable experience. We support the children and the family members and wish for their happiness through our small contribution.