Inspiration

Nagging your kids to go to bed can really ruin the relaxed atmosphere needed to fall asleep. I wanted to create an experience where Alexa can help kids complete their bedtime routine, transition into a peaceful evening mode, and inspire them to come up with happy thoughts before bedtime to increase the chance of falling asleep in a good mood and have good dreams and a good night's sleep.

What it does

Bedtime Hero helps kids enjoy their night time routine while completing their tasks in ridiculous ways and coming up with happy or funny thoughts.

Alexa guides the kids through wearing pj's, brushing their teeth, going to the toilet, and finding a favorite stuffed animal or doll to cuddle with. All in a fun and playful way that is meant to engage the kids and provide them with positive reinforcements. While the skill encourages kids to complete their missions quickly, time doesn't matter and every kid who completes the routine is crowned an official Bedtime Hero.

This skill is meant for younger children, and can be played with or without parents, depending on the child's independence. When finishing the routine, parents are encouraged to cuddle with their kids and share bedtime stories.

How I built it

Bedtime Hero is built on Voiceflow and uses the APL authoring tool.

Challenges I ran into

The multimodality aspect was tricky, as screens are not encouraged to be used before bedtime. It was really tempting to get carried away with visuals, but the main point of this skill is to have the kids focused on their tasks and not get distracted by a screen. Therefore I decided that the skill should provide a full experience on voice-only devices, using sound effects, and the screens should serve as supportive visual cues. I chose a very calm visual language where each task in the routine is represented by an image that reminds the kids what they need to do. I also added a short text description for each task, in case parents missed the audio instructions and want to help their kids remember what they are supposed to do.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Bedtime Hero is meant to address the needs of both parents and kids. For parents, Bedtime Hero is there to reduce the friction of helping their kids get ready for bed. For kids, it's about being funny and silly. It was a real challenge to balance the two in a way that makes both audiences happy.

To avoid bad dreams, I stayed away from any mention of monsters, witches or battles, and kept the skill's language entirely positive and sparkly.

What I learned

My goal for the kids was to have them run around the house completing their tasks, and every now and then either yell to alexa that they're done, or run back to the device to take a look and remember what they're supposed to be doing.

I learned a lot about multimodal design, how to produce graphics for devices of different sizes, and most valuably - how to balance and guide users through the different attention spans required for each modality (speech and screen).

What's next for Bedtime Hero

More content, more music, and letting parents customize their family's unique routine.

Sweet dreams!

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