Search Underway for Most Accessible Apps
15 April 2014 at 12:14 pm
A nationwide search is underway for Australia’s most accessible mobile phone apps.
The inaugural Apps For All Challenge 2014 – Australia’s first and only competition for accessible mobile apps – has been launched by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).
The competition aims to raise awareness of the issues that older Australians and people with disability face when trying to use inaccessible apps.
ACCAN disability policy advisor Wayne Hawkins said the Challenge would recognise the apps that excel at including everyone and encourage all Australian developers to become leaders in accessibility.
“As apps continue to increase in popularity, we can’t leave millions of people behind,” Hawkins said.
“As someone who is blind, apps can have an extraordinary benefit on my life, but too often I come across an app which is inaccessible.
“It’s often fairly simple and inexpensive to include accessibility in an app and there are already the guidelines out there explaining how to do it. It’s just a matter of getting it done.”
Australia's Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes said inaccessible apps effectively “shut out” many potential users.
“My iPhone is always in my pocket and I use apps for news, weather, travel, reading blogs and of course Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn,” Innes said. “An app that is inaccessible is like closing the door to an area of my life. I just feel shut out.
“This challenge will raise awareness about the value of access for everyone, and show app developers that they can increase their market share by making their apps accessible,” he said.
It is estimated that 47,000 apps are downloaded every minute worldwide, while in Australia 4.45 million Australians downloaded smartphone apps in June 2012 – an increase of 85 per cent from the previous year.
However, millions of Australians may be missing out on the digital revolution if apps aren’t made accessible, Hawkins said.
According to the ABS, the proportion of Australians aged over 65 will increase from 13 per cent in 2007 to 23-25 per cent by 2056, while in 2009 there were almost one in five Australians living with a disability. Globally, a report from the International Telecommunication Union claimed over one billion people have a disability that affects their access to modern communications.
Apps For All will recognise the best mobile apps in the following categories:
- Most accessible mainstream app
- Most innovative app designed for people with disability or older Australians
- Most accessible children’s app
- Most accessible gaming app
Nominations will close on 14 July 2014 and winners will be announced at the ACCAN National Conference in September.
More information on Apps For All Challenge 2014 can be found here.