The winners of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Apps For All Challenge 2014 were announced tonight at the 2014 ACCAN National Conference. The winners were awarded the inaugural Telstra Prize for their efforts in developing apps that are accessible to all consumers, including older Australians and those with disabilities.
The awards raise awareness of the need to ensure smartphone applications are accessible to all users and that this must be taken into account in their design. Prizes were handed out during a ceremony at ACCAN’s National Conference, Connecting Today’s Consumer.
“We’re pleased to reward developers who have ensured their apps are accessible and can be used by all Australians,” said ACCAN disability policy advisor Wayne Hawkins. “With smartphone ownership continuing to grow, it’s important to remember older Australians and those with disabilities should not be left out of the digital world. The winners of the inaugural Apps For All Challenge are applauded for their efforts in achieving this and the exceptional standard which they have achieved.”
“The Australian Human Commission was very happy to be a part of this challenge, and I am thrilled to see such great apps be recognised for the first time in this way,” commented Acting Disability Commissioner Susan Ryan.
“Telstra wants all our customers to enjoy a great communications experience. These awards encourage app developers to make sure their apps are usable by all,” said Karsten Wildberger, Group Managing Director, Telstra Consumer. “The winners have shown they understand that accessibility is an essential part of effective app design.”
The awards recognise applications from categories including most accessible mainstream app, most innovative app designed for people with disability or older Australians and most accessible children’s app. No award was given out in the most accessible gaming app category as no nomination met our accessibility criteria. Instead two apps from the most accessible children’s app category have been awarded prizes.
And the Winners Are:
1. Most accessible mainstream app – ACCC Shopper
The ACCC Shopper app provides useful consumer information to users and includes tools to keep copies of receipts. It can be used to set reminders for lay-bys, warranties and gift vouchers, write complaint letters to businesses or ask common shopping questions such as “when can I get a refund?”
2. Most innovative app designed for people with disability or older Australians – OpenMi Tours
OpenMi Tours provides information to users at museums, art galleries and cultural venues in a variety of inclusive formats. These include audio only, audio with captions, Auslan with captions, audio description as well as foreign languages.
3. Most accessible children’s app – two winning apps
Row Row Your Boat
The Row Row Your Boat app provides an interactive learning experience with educational ideas, games and sounds to encourage the development of listening and language skills in young children. The app is particularly useful to families of children who have reduced hearing or language problems.
Positive Penguins was created as a tool to help children understand their emotions come from their thinking and teach them to challenge (or problem solve) the negative stories they tell themselves. The app was created by a Melbourne student with the idea initially being created in a PowerPoint presentation on healthy mind, healthy body.
4. Most accessible gaming app – none – no nomination met our accessibility criteria
Prizes for the winners included the Telstra Prize of $1500 in cash, promotion through Telstra’s social media and a one-off opportunity to participate in a mini-incubator experience with Telstra’s own in-house app developers and technology specialists.