We asked some of our developers three questions about their projects.

Statement App

1. How would you describe your path to having built your app?

Todd Anderson and I built Statement to help my little sister, someone with speech impairment from a stroke, make herself understood in a pinch. At the time, my little sister was graduating high school and headed to Wright State University in the fall, but unfortunately her amazing classroom aid could not follow her there. She would be more independent than ever and interacting with a much wider audience of people unfamiliar with her speech on a daily basis.  We were both working at a fintech startup in San Francisco, and when he heard my concerns about her ability to be understood, he graciously offered to help build a solution. I designed the app, he built it in a weekend, and the rest is history.

2. What does your app do and how did you arrive at that particular problem as the one that you decided to solve?

Statement allows users to type out what they are trying to say, display that message in large, high contrast text for others to clearly see, and save those messages for later use. It's an incredibly simple piece of software. Too often caregivers had suggested my sister learn sign language, carry a notebook, or use full communication-board style software that speaks for her. We wanted an appropriately sized solution, and something that was the definition of a minimum viable product so that if it didn't work out, it wouldn't be the end of the world. We could scrap it and build something else, or tack on whatever feature was lacking in another weekend instead of committing ourselves to a huge project that never gets in the hands of users.

3.  Do you have any story to tell about the impact of your app?

Because we didn't narrowly target any one specific usecase and kept the product simple, it's been awesome hearing how people use Statement. We've heard of the app being used by hearing-impaired Lyft drivers, persons with cerebral palsy, by teams during conference calls, and at loud concerts & bars to communicate with friends. I'm not sure we had imagined "abled" users relying on Statement, but it's great for any environment where its too loud or too quiet to talk. 

Recently the app saved my sister during a midterm when her volunteer exam writer was having trouble understanding her responses. The university allowed her to use Statement on her phone (with wifi off) so she could communicate her responses without concerns that she could cheat!