Ryan Chen



Branding, UX/UI, Logo Design

Soapbox is a picture-based communication app. It is a full-featured AAC app which has been developed for children who are non-verbal or who have difficulty speaking.

This app was made while participating in 3-Day Startup, an entrepreneurship education program designed for university students with an emphasis on learning by doing. The idea is simple: start tech companies over the course of three days. I was the primary designer for our team, so both the logo and the user interface was designed by me. 



I participated in an event called 3-Day Startup. How it works is people from all fields and backgrounds, mainly undergraduate students from the University of Texas at Austin, come pitch problems they see in a given market. Once these ideas are presented, all the participants will decide which idea they will spend the next three days they will create into a Minimum Viable Product. 



Our team was interested in the development of new software towards people with a speech-language disorder. First, we dissected what the initial problem was for the main consumer. Our team leader, who was a Speech-Language Pathologist, explained that companies have only recently developed speech-language apps to replace traditional forms of communication via the alphabet on paper. Our leading competitors created great products, however, we felt they were too expensive and not user-friendly.


I was the only designer that was on my team. Because of that, my duty was to help create the look and feel of what the app could potentially do. Working alongside my teammates, we decided the best way to communicate how the app would work is to show a video of how the app would work. 


We wanted to expand on the idea of creating a gridded system, but enhancing the grid so that the size of the containers would change based on how often they are used. The main screen initially prompts you with general subjects in which you can click through to get the given command or word you would want to say. Adding words or images would be fully customizable, setting us apart from our main competitors. 



On the last day, we pitched our idea to a team of judges as well as the rest of our fellow participants. We also invited some local Speech-Language Pathologists to come and hear what we had come up with at the end of the weekend. Our initial feedback was generally positive. The main issue for investors was our customer base. Our product served a very small and specific market and because of that, Venture Capitalists wouldn’t even dare touch it. The SLP’s, however, loved our idea and encouraged us to continue pursuing this idea. Overall, it was an incredible experience. I am still proud of what our team was able to accomplish in a manner of 3 days.