Halo is an intelligent personal assistant (IPA) to help facilitate healthy conversation about grievances (such as a death in the family, divorce or financial limitations) between a young child (aged 4 to 9) and a parent. This is a project that I lead.

​Over recent years, the ways parents have explained bad news or grievances to their children has gotten worse as time further progresses. Parents have resulted in not telling their children of the grievance, telling them in an unsuitable and inconsiderate way, or getting other people to tell them. Halo also encourages the improvement of the bond between parents and their children through games and activities on the app component of Halo. 


Project Lead
Visual Design Lead


Varun Khatri
Tori Tryon
Liam Stoica


Human-Computer Interaction 
Sung Park​
10 Weeks
Winter 2020


The Beginning

Halo began with a brief, "Communication" was going to be the theme for the class that quarter. Our group quickly decides that we wanted to focus on "Tough Family Conversations" based on the types of conversation we had or wished we had with our own families. After some research, we learned that the hardest conversations for a family to have were those about finances, death, and divorce.


Halo was created following the Double-Diamond method. During week one, our team created a Gantt chart to assign tasks and allocate time. This is one of my favorite ways to plan projects.

Research on Communication
During Grievances

Research was a five-week-long process. I mainly handled not taking during interviews and leading Subject Matter Expert (SME) interviews.

What are Grievances?

Grievances are wrongdoings or bad situations.
We use the term to describe the three most difficult topics for parents to talk to their children about and cause the most harm if handled incorrectly.

The three main grievances that Halo aims to help with are Divorce, Death in the Family, and Financial  Troubles.

Affinity Maping

Every data point or insight is on a sticky note. The notes are then grouped based on how they relate to each other. ​
220 Stickies
9 Groups

Design & Develop

After consolidating out research, we found out source problem and  two target audiences: Parents and Children.
Our two concepts to meet the challenge was a Social Robot or a Communication Ring. The Communication Ring is a what developed into Halo. 

User Testing

We tested Halo with parents and children using the sample scenario of the family dog, Archie, passing away. After user testing we added Halo Play, changed the instruction/onboarding, and modified the physical product to have two handles instead of four.

Voice Flows

click images to enlarge

How It Fits Together

Halo consists of three main components; a physical product, a voice assistant and a companion app. The physical appearance of Halo is a large ring with two handles that when both gripped, becomes activated.

Halo is similar to a mediator in conversations, it will have a machine-learning voice assistant system with a very kind and friendly persona which is designed to be comforting to the children. Halo’s companion app is made for the parents in which they may schedule conversations, stories in which Halo can read to help ease into the tough conversations and also to choose games and activities to play with their child. All of this is voice commendable with the voice assistant. 

Behind The Scenes

What I Learned

Software: Miro, Figma, Otter.ai, Rhinoceros 3D, Illustrator

From a tactical skill perspective, I learned how to manage a team and the basics of UX Design. The real growth was emotional. Halo made an impact on everyone it touched, from the designers who made it, to the research participants, and user testers. This project required everyone to vulnerable, accept the past, heal from it, and direct their energy into helping the next generation of kids. Researching trauma and talking to survivors of emotional and physical along with licensed therapists was taxing, but it helped us as designers empathize and feel their pain. This project was a cathartic and healing experience for myself and the team.

Thank You!