Tell Me Stories
Storytelling in your voice
I built what I wish existed for my little one. It brings him great joy to listen to stories told by his extended family. He loves being able to chose what he listens to, see friendly family faces, and feels more connected than ever to his relatives. I hope it can do the same for you and your loved ones, too.
Finally, a family-focused story telling app
What is it?
A story recording app designed to do two things really well
Choosing and listening to stories easy enough for anybody to use.
Adding new stories is fast and easy enough for anybody to use.
What isn't it?
We don't offer any stories or copyrighted material
You read your own stories or books. Why? I built this because we have so many books our 3.5 year-old loves and it's an easy night-time routine to record new stories with him.
Each night we read two books before bedtime and we use the app to record them at the same time. I wanted a way to do this that was unobtrusive and fast.
How does it work?
First, you provide your own real-life stories by taking a photo of whatever you feel represents the story. That can be a book cover, a drawing, or even a location you're at. Then, you take a photo of yourself. Finally, press the record button and tell your story.
Once complete, your story is added to a virtual bookshelf that can later be played back. If more than one person tells the same story, your listener can choose who they wish to hear tell the story.
The fun doesn't stop there, you can easily share your story by tapping and holding down on the story in the bookcase. From there, you can send it to your family over text message, through AirDrop, email, whatever!
The listening experience has been customized for little fingers and relentlessly tested by my 3.5 year-old. One goal of the app design is to provide an interface that is so intuitive he can select stories, readers, pause, and play without frustration (or intervention by an adult).
I spent a tremendous amount of time designing, tweaking, testing, and watching how he interacted with the app. You can see all the design decisions I made along with the reasoning behind them.
The end result is a story player that keeps my (and hopefully your) little one focused on the story while empowering them to control whatever aspects of playback we think is right for them.
For more details on the design and functionality of the listening experience:
A joyful, reading-optional listening experience
Only the most important audio controls up-front and easy to discover.
Friendly, intuitive iconography
No reading skills needed here. We use photos of your content, including who is reading, the cover of your stories and even a virtual bookcase. Figuring out how to listen to your favorite stories is easier than ever. Our 3.5 year-old discovered how to use the app without direction.
Custom app settings help keep the guardrails on
Keep your kiddo in the stories without worry.
You can selectively enable and disable features like: story repeat mode, whether or not recording is enabled, disable deleting or sharing of stories, prevent the phone from sleeping, and even disable all controls during playback unless you perform the special re-enable tap sequence.
Stay connected with family
Stories told in their voice
Having family across the world is so common. We never get to see everybody as much as we want. Now they can records stories whenever inspiration strikes and share them with you.
Read and share stories with your family
By sharing stories with your family they'll grow their collection of friendly faces and voices making it easier for everybody to feel more connected to relatives both far and near.
Take part in bedtime reading, even when on business
Even if you can't be around for bedtime, you can record stories and share them so you can still be a part of it, even if you're in a work meeting.
Streamlined recording flow
Recording a story is easy with the four-step guided story recording flow.
Even folks who are technologically challenged can do it!
No tracking, no data collection.
We'll never track you, what you do, or how you do it.
We don't even know what we'd do with your data, so we'll never collect it.
Your stories are yours, always
Your stories will never be held hostage behind a paywall
Your creations will always be easily shared
Anything you create can be moved from the app to your computer
Data portability is your right
A difficult school transition. Then an idea.
We arrived home after spending a summer with Arlo’s grandparents. His days had been full of adventures from exploring sand at the beach with his best friend, building giant Magna-Tile sets with grandma Jenny, and lots of night time and rainy day story reading.
Back home Arlo started preschool. On the first day it was clear his school schedule was going to be problematic. Arlo had dropped his naps nearly a year prior and his preschool didn’t have accommodations for no nappers. To see if we could turn him back into a napper, we went in during nap time to help him get cozy and relaxed. Arlo was having none of it. The need to be quiet for at least an hour and a half was more than he could manage. We tried giving him books to page through- he loves doing this in the morning. That only worked for a few minutes before he was up and ready to move on. After a couple weeks of trying slightly different iterations of this, we decided to bring in headphones to listen to a book on tape. This seemed to help but lacked a more personal, calming touch that hearing his own family read brings.
That’s when the idea for Tell Me Stories struck.
Making sure you always have access to your stories is a core tenant of this app. You'll never lose access to your stories and you'll always have an easy way to export, copy, and back them up. I've made specific design choices to make it as easy as possible to accomplish. You can learn more about them.