The story of Kid Chatteroo began years ago, when my grandfather, a member of the Utah Broadcaster Hall of Fame, interviewed my father on one of the first tape recorders in Utah…the questions he would ask were sweet & funny and always included important details. MY father then carried on this tradition with his tape recorder. I always loved how he thought I was funny when he would ask me silly & thoughtful questions. The very act of recording told me that what I had to say was important, that I was important. When I had children of my own, I felt it was my responsibility to carry on this tradition and I needed to share it. This burning desire that kept me awake at night became the app, Kid Chatteroo. In a digital age, face-to-face communication is becoming an endangered species. Kid Chateroo cultivates the lost art of personal, verbal, connection. It uses the latest technology to do it too. It is unique because it provides questions AND the ability to RECORD those sweet conversations between parent and child.

What it does

Kid Chatteroo is easy to use. Create a puppet for each child and parent. Choose an outfit and hairstyle and you are ready. You can even take a picture of your own face to pop onto your puppet or "peep". Then choose a category to draw questions from. On the question screen, All family members show up near the bottom. To record, press and hold your child’s puppet and ask the question and enjoy the good conversation that follows. VOILA, history captured! The recording appears right on the screen and just like magic you can play it back. Kids love asking questions too. Each recording is time and date stamped in the child’s “recording studio”. From there, they can be shared via social media, email or text. We have noticed that since we started using Kid Chatteroo with our kids, they have become great at carrying on conversations with others and have also become very interested in each others' thoughts and feelings. This became a major benefit that we didn't anticipate. Quality time Meaningful family time in an app? Who would have thought?

How it was built

I was able to take on the role as designer/dreamer/project manager. It took many many many weeks of discussing through wireframes, how we were going to bring this idea to fruition. We ran into many roadblocks along the way and eventually either came up with alternatives or changed the original idea slightly. It was built two different times.

Challenges I ran into

I originally hired someone to build Kid Chatteroo and after working on it for one year, he left with the code. It was so disappointing, I had to start from scratch with a new developer. I talked to almost everyone I knew to see if someone knew someone that could develop this app for me. It was a challenge to find someone that could build this robust app. I have learned that marketing apps can be a challenge. We also ran into some challenges with some of the animations within the app. We decided to simplify so they didn't take up too much space. In the beginning, our deadlines kept getting moved, which is to be expected with developing.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

My husband and I have funded the majority of Kid Chatteroo. When more funding was need, we entered Kid Chatteroo into the Concept 2 Company Mobile App Contest and won second place. This allowed us to add the server and a few other features we had wanted. We were able to add all the features we said we would add. From December 2013-June 2015 I was lucky enough to be the Family Fun Contributor monthly at KSL's Studio5 as the "Author of the family app, Kid Chatteroo". (links to 3 segments below) I was able to share fun ways to experience Utah and create bonding moments in the process, along with fun parenting tips. I have also been able to speak at many conferences (Roots Tech, Pinner's Conference, Publicity Summit, Family History Girl's Night Out, etc) on creating and capture moments with our families.

Kid Chatteroo news features: 3 of the 14 KSL's Studio5 segments I had the privilege to do as the "Author of Kid Chatteroo":

Website features: "new potential gem" -featured in Wall Street Journal Online -KSL's Studio 5 and KSL's The Browser -KUTV 2 news did a full story on the app and filmed in our home: -The Matt Townsend Show -Reached the TOP 300 IOS Apps OVERALL list -Reached the TOP 20 Apps in the Entertainment Category list

What I learned

I could go on and on and on for days about the things I have learned in this process. I have learned about many of my strengths as well as many of my weaknesses. I have learned that developing is a long and arduous process at times. I have learned that some things you want to add to apps are much harder/easier than you think, usually harder ;). I have learned that this projects fueled my flame as a mother. I would often get excited about the app and it would bring the excitement into my home and parenting. I have learned that I love to speak and I love the adrenaline rush behind it. I have learned about how developing works and have encouraged my kids to learn more about it through experiences like coding camps and online coding classes. I really could go on for days about this. I will learn more as this process continues.

What's next for Kid Chatteroo

Kid Chatteroo is fun and meaningful product. We would love to add video and other things that go along with that. We would love to have Kid Chatteroo connect with Family Search so each recording is safely stored on a second server. There are so many plans in the works and so many fun bells and whistles to think about. Our hope is that Kid Chatteroo continues to evolve and grow. We know this is possible by continuing to improve the app so families can continue to connect in the most fun, creative and seamless way possible.

Thank you for this opportunity!

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