I Will Always Be Me

Compassionate, simple, helpful, rewarding, effective.
Health, Wellness & Pharmaceutical, Branded Content / Nominee

Health, Wellness & Pharmaceutical, Branded Content

The book transformed voice banking from a complicated, solitary experience to a meaningful one. Carlos Pabon, Group Creative Director

Q: Can you briefly describe your project and the concept behind it?

A: "I Will Always Be Me" is the world’s first voice banking book. We worked with bestselling author Jill Twiss and illustrator Nicholas Stevenson to create a story that people with MND can read to their loved ones to share what they are going through. All syllables needed to create an accurate copy of their voice are contained in the story, and the emotions captured in the session create a higher-quality version of their digital voice.

Q: Once you settled on your idea, what influenced your decision on the chosen technical approach? How did it differ or go beyond approaches you’ve taken in the past?

A: Creating a fully-responsive, web-based digital book that also banks your voice was equally a front and backend challenge. On the frontend, the book demanded bespoke layouts for every page and screen size. And all of that needed to happen while the system was recording the user. On the backend, we worked together with our voice banking partner, SpeakUnique, to develop an API that would feed recordings directly to their AI voice algorithm.

Q: What were some of your biggest learning and takeaways from this project?

A: Empathy can be one of the biggest drivers of innovation. None of the team members working on the project were personally affected by MND. We had to immerse ourselves in the lives of those affected by this terrible condition. This initial ignorance of everything related to the disease and voice banking combined with empathy was key. It unlocked the initial idea and many solutions to problems that arose along the way

Q: What web technologies, approaches, tools, or resources did you use to develop this experience (WordPress, headless, AI, Sublime Text, HTML5, Adobe XD, etc)?

A: The illustrations were digitally done in Adobe Fresco and then animated in After Effects. We used Figma as the primary UX/UI design tool. The web-based experience was coded with a customized Vue.js framework and HTML5. Our partners at SpeakUnique use proprietary AI to process the voice recordings into synthetic voices that can be used on assistive speech devices. Many other tools were used at various stages of the process.

Q: How did the final product meet or exceed your expectations? What results did you see?

A: The acceptance by the MND community, speech therapists, and doctors has been beyond anything we expected. Today, “I Will Always Be Me” is the #1 voice banking method in the UK. 50% more people with the condition are banking their voice thanks to the book. And with help from the MNDA, the project is expanding to Ireland, Australia, the USA, and other countries.

Q: Why is this an exciting time to create new digital experiences? How does your team fit into this?

A: We constantly use new digital experiences to solve our clients' challenges. Having a strong strategy, developing a unique insight, and coming up with an idea is the backbone of our process. But ultimately, it all comes down to execution and creating a final product that works. As an agency, we’re able to bring so many diverse skills and companies together to make all this happen.

Q: How did you reach a good balance of your own creative ideas and technical capabilities with a fair representation of the client’s brand?

A: This project had no room for compromise. The technology had to work, and at the same time, the idea couldn’t lose its essence. From our internal team to the clients and production partners — we all had a shared goal. So despite the many technical, UX and communication challenges, everyone worked so well together because of the importance of this project. We were constantly balancing the vision with practicality, which led to unexpected solutions.

Q: What did your initial moodboard, wireframe, or prototype look like? How did those ideas change throughout the design process?

A: The initial concept of how the platform should work is very similar to the final product — a voice banking experience that is as easy as reading a storybook. We went into this knowing that it would be possible but with a lot of questions. Throughout the process, many of our design approaches, tools, and functionality evolved based on the story, user feedback, and production realities.
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