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We all love using Apps on our phones and tablets right? Well, not all apps are created equal, and people with disabilities often have trouble using apps, that’s why today the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and the Australian Human Rights Commission have launched the inaugural Apps For All Challenge 2014.

The Apps For All Challenge is a competition to find Australia’s most accessible apps and raise awareness of the issues faced by both people living with a disability and older Australians.

The numbers when talking about app downloads are pretty big, it’s estimated that 47,000 apps are downloaded every minute world-wide. On a local basis, there are more than 11.19 million smartphone owners in Australia, so apps are also a big business here.

Making apps accessible to Australians who are older or living with a disability is definitely a growing need. The Australian Bureau of Statistics tells us that 13% of Australians in 2007 were aged over 65 which will grow to 23-25% by 2056 and the number of Australians living with a disability in 2009 was almost 1 in 5 and if you’re thinking globally, there’s over one billion people living with a disability out there.

So, with an aging population and many people out there living with a disability, the Apps For All Challenge is definitely a great concept. ACCAN disability policy advisor Wayne Hawkins said :

This challenge will recognise the apps that excel at including everyone, while encouraging all Australian developers to become leaders in accessibility. As apps continue to increase in popularity, we can’t leave millions of people behind.

The Apps For All Challenge opens today, Anyone can nominate an App, but there’s some criteria for App nominations. All Apps must be Australian developed, apps can only be nominated for one category, nominated apps must be designed for Android, iOS or Windows. And it doesn’t have to be just new Apps, existing apps can also be nominated. Nominations will be accepted 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

Entries close on Monday, the 14th of July, with the winners to be announced at the ACCAN National Conference in September this year. To nominate an App you can email it to ACCAN or call ACCAN on 02 9288 4000 / TTY 02 9281 5322.

ACCAN has provided links to the World Wide Web Consortium’s mobile accessibility guidelines as well as Apple and Android accessibility guidelines on their Apps For All Challenge webpage. It’s a great idea and if you’re an Australian app developer you should certainly be giving this a go.

Source: ACCAN.
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    Just to be clear, ‘win’ in this context seems to be a trophy, not actually any cash. Considering that making allowances for all the different niche disabilities takes lots of time, money, effort, and often means the result is suboptimal for the majority – it would be better for them to have put their cash where their guidelines desires are.

    Daniel Tyson

    Winning is not always about money.

    Having an organisation such as ACCAN or the AHRC, suggest your Apps to members could be a large increase in downloads. As noted there is quite a large number of people who fall into the categories that the challenge is aimed at.

    Also, having relatives who are both elderly and who live with disabilities, I hope app developers take not your view but aspire to put some work in to make their apps truly accessible for everyone.