Eurobest

Sounds Easy!

YANDEX, Moscow / YANDEX / 2020

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Alice is the most popular voice assistant in Russia designed by Yandex. And kids love talking to her. A lot. And it’s available for free – to all owners of smartphones on Android and IOS.

That’s why we wanted to help them spend more quality time together. We found out that the most common problem kids face is the speech disorder. So we decided to help them and to raise awareness about access to speech therapy and its importance in general.

Now kids can talk to Alice and train their speech at the same time thanks to a speech-training tool.

Idea

Up to 70% of Russian preschoolers suffer from Speech Sound Disorder. If untreated, this may cause dyslexia and other disorders. What’s worse, there aren’t enough speech therapists, especially in country regions: statistics say there's 1 doctor per 420 children. And private specialists are not available for everyone because they’re pricey.

Our mission was to make speech training free and accessible all over Russia.

Also, to make the process easy and relevant for kids. For modern kids who spend a lot of time with their gadgets.

Strategy

Our plan was to make the tool effective and accessible.

1) We found out that kids mostly develop their sound and speech abilities at the age from 5 to 7.

2) We also knew that they spend a lot of time with their smartphones at a very young age.

3) We invited speech specialists who came up with rules for songs and warm-up sessions.

4) Next we created the content together with famous singers-songwriters who helped us develop the training melodies and songs. The speech specialists checked songs and guided the singers during the voice-overing.

5) We involved the Fixies, Russia's most popular cartoon characters, and based some songs on their melodies.

6) This collaboration made us visible for influencers and media. And even the Ministry of Education of Russia.

7) The app is available on any smartphone which makes the training free and accessible to 80 mln Alice users.

Execution

The tool is a game-based song training integrated into an app with a voice assistant Alice.

The first step is to choose one of the characters to practice particular sounds. It can be a Fixie, a famous cartoon character, or a Soundie, a specially created character voiced by pop-singers.

The second step is a warm-up: repeat sounds after the characters.

And the third step is to practice by singing a song. The characters also represent skills that kids acquire if they overcome their speech difficulties.

Technically, the AI-powered speech recognition technology guides the child toward correct articulation by asking him to repeat the exercise in case of deviations.

Together with a big team of enthusiasts, Yandex created songs according to complex speech therapy principles and found a way to make the training accessible on every smartphone.

Outcome

– Sounds Easy became one of the two most popular skills in Alice's children's category.

– The tool was also acknowledged by the Ministry of Education.

– Sounds Easy was included into the school curriculum during the quarantine-2020.

– Due to the tool's social significance, experts and artists contributed to the project for free.

– Most importantly, speech training became available for all children for free.

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