EF Study Buddy Smart Speaker

EF Education FirstEngland


Production / Professional


VP Product / EF Edtech - Manon Dave, Lead Product Designer / EF Edtech - Tien Sheng Huang, Senior Technical Product Manager / EF Edtech - Ricardo Luz, VP Manufacturing Operations / EF Edtech - Gareth Mills, Senior Product Designer / EF Edtech - David Carroll, Senior Product Designer / EF Edtech - Qing Hu, CXO / EF Central Research - Enio Ohmaye, Director of Research / EF Central Research - Bob Zhou, Head of Mobile Development / EF Central Research - Joni Silva, Creative Director / EF Edtech - Tim Ackroyd


Study Buddy is a next-generation smart speaker that Brings English language education to life. Designed specifically for students aged 3 to 6, it delivers content relevant to their language skill level. Based on characters from EF’s Small Stars Course, Study Buddy lets young learners explore songs, stories and games in multiple fun ways.

Our goal for Study Buddy is a simple one: To deliver an additional 5 minutes of meaningful English language practice to students every single day.

Study Buddy quickly builds a safe, 1 to 1 native learning environment at home to provide students with maximum exposure to the English language.

With a carefully curated selection of immersive play-based activities, Study Buddy aggregates everything kids love all in one place. Songs, Games, Stories and Practice modes meaning our young learners are encouraged to speak English sooner and with greater frequency.

Study Buddy promises exclusive, new content,  meticulously developed by our team of academic experts to perfectly complement the existing Small Stars course.

With fresh content delivered directly to your device every month, at no extra cost, learners can be sure that their Study Buddy will always boast the very latest in learning-related fun!

Study Buddy empowers students to prepare for upcoming classes, letting them practice & review what they learn in school from the comfort of their own home!

Study Buddy is an outcome of 7 design revisions. It achieved true refinement after a series of improvements. The design process started before the design work happened. It began with empathizing with the young users and with understanding of the business objective. Design kickstarted from the sketches on the paper and elaborated through rapid prototyping. After pining down the skeleton of form through the CAD software, the internal structure was built around the considerations of mechanical, electronic engineering and production process. The usability, functionality and reliability were then being crafted along with a couple of rounds of prototyping and user test. During the revisions, issues like on-boarding flow, illumination for LED indicators, optical quality for screen, waterproofness, haptic response for buttons etc. which required negotiations between design intents and engineering limitations were nicely resolved in the end.

Design Thinking helped us develop an interface and interactions that are intuitive and pleasant. The choice of monochromatic OLED is crucial to deliver timely information and lively eye expression, and to protect kids’ eyesight from harmful blue light at the same time. The material choice of medical-grade silicone for the outer sleeve is ideal for kids’ comfort and health while achieving a high-quality look and durability for usage. The inner structure is meant to be adaptable to other character designs in the future.


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