A cash prize of $1500 awaited the winner of the Apps for All Challenge, organised by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) together with the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The winners, announced at ACCAN’s 2014 conference, were rewarded in the categories of
- 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?”
- 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.
- Most accessible children’s app - Row Row Your Boat & Positive Penguins
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.
Interestingly, no nominations were entered for the fourth category of most accessible gaming app.
In total, almost 30 apps were submitted, including a number of government services apps. The majority of nominated apps targeted persons who are blind or vision impaired.
The objective of the challenge was to raise awareness about the need to ensure accessibility in designing smartphone applications, as to making them usable for everyone, including persons with disabilities and older citizens that start being confronted with hearing or vision loss, reduced mobility and cognitive impairments.
The Apps for All Challenge was sponsored by Australian operator Telstra, who just recently launched an accessibility initiative, including the full integration of GARI’s search function for accessible mobile phones in a dedicated web portal.