An immersive Alexa skill to support parents of young children with advice, tips, sounds, and music.
Mattel approached us to explore how they could bring their wealth of knowledge, experience, and research to their key audiences through voice assistants for their Fisher-Price brand. As one of the world’s largest toy companies, they have decades of research on how young children develop and wanted to help young parents tap into this using voice technology.
Through a series of workshops, we delved into the content Mattel had and developed the idea of a voice skill that would provide parents with insights into their child’s development and also offer audio from Mattel’s huge back catalogue of media to soothe and entertain both parents and kids.
We broke the first five years of a child’s life into 20 stages, with 13 tips for each stage to give advice that would promote the child’s social, physical, cognitive, and sleep development. Fisher-Price also had content for parents-to-be, which resulted in 45 tips to help parents prepare for baby’s arrival.
Drawing from Mattel’s huge catalogue of songs, music and soothing sounds, we incorporated over 200 audio files into the skill which would offer parents playtime music, lullabies, sing-alongs, nature sounds and classical music pieces.
From the outset we wanted to make sure the skill’s content was delivered in a warm, trusted, and reassuring way, and we weren’t confident that Alexa’s native synthetic voice would necessarily provide this for our target audience. Working with our audio production partners Big Mouth Audio, we selected a voice actor and recorded over 300 individual audio files for use within the skill.
We underwent extensive testing, including with Mattel’s PlayLab with 40 families of young children and analysed the results. The music aspect of the skill turned out to be much more popular than expected, with parents expressing a desire for more content, and the playlist abilities. We added over 100 more tracks into the skill, and allowed users to trigger long-play playlists to entertain their children throughout the day.
Following a second round of testing with families, during which the updated skill received an enthusiastic thumbs up from parents, we launched just before Christmas 2021. Initially developed for the UK market, the skill was also designed to be able to be extended to international markets across Europe and North America.