Designer. Technologist. Problem Solver.

Talk They Hear You

Prepare for one of the most important conversations you may ever have with your kids about underage drinking. SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” app is here to help. –SAMHSA


For the Talk They Hear You project the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) wanted to create an experiece that would allow parents to practice talking to their children about alcohol in a safe environment. They knew that many parents found it a very difficult discussion to have; that they weren’t sure how to talk to their kids about alcohol, especially about the peer pressure that they often encounter at parties. The simulated conversations we build at Kognito were ideally suited to a project like this. We built an experience that allowed parents to practice the conversation, exploring topics that might make their kids defensive without any real life consequences.

To support that experience for parents the User Interface needed to not only guide parents through the conversation choice by choice, also provide insight into the thought process of the virtual child they were practicing with. To that end we created signature interactions integrated into the narrative, as well as info graphics that the parents could access throughout the conversation to see their virtual child’s changing (or not) attitude toward the conversation.

This was an especially interesting project to work on at Kognito for a couple of reasons:


We built the initial experience on our Flash based platform and then over a year later we rebuilt the entire project in Unity3D to provide them with the ability to deliver the, already successfully received, content on all the major mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Store).

Brand Integration & Credibility

In addition to technical and interaction design problems of supporting multiple platforms, we had to ensure the visual and branding design of the app worked with the SAMSHA branding as it would be integrated into their website. For material like this the visual integration was especially important because for parents visiting the site the credibility of the content came from SAMSHA. They have never heard of Kognito, and the subject matter of the experience is very delicate, so it needed to be clear that the research credentials of SAMSHA stood behind the content.

TITLE: Talk They Hear You


ROLE: Senior Interaction Designer

Tools: Illustrator, Flash & Unity