Accessibility-Centric Apps Voice Dream Reader, Be My Eyes Receive 2021 Apple Design Award Honors

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Illustration of the ADA's silver cube set against a black background

Apple's Design Award trophy is designed by the company's acclaimed Industrial Design group.

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A longstanding tradition at WWDC, Apple this week announced the 2021 winners of the Apple Design Awards. The company describes the ADAs, as they’re colloquially known, as “[celebrating] the creative artistry and technical achievement of developers who reflect the best in design, innovation, and technology on Apple platforms.”

There are twelve winners this year spanning six categories. Most notable from a disability point of view is two of the winning apps are accessibility-focused. The first, Voice Dream Reader, chosen for the Inclusivity category, is a text-to-speech app for iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS that reads aloud text from digital sources like a webpage or PDF. The other winner is Be My Eyes, chosen for Social Impact, is a service that pairs Blind and low vision people with sighted volunteers, who help them identify information on real-world labels such as the expiration date on a carton of milk. The app is available on iOS and iPadOS. Be My Eyes supports more than 300,000 users and more than 4.5 million volunteers in more than 150 countries and 180 languages.

Both Voice Dream Reader and Be My Eyes join a long line of accessibility-centric apps to take home Apple’s coveted silver cube. Blackbox, djay, and Workflow—acquired by Apple in 2017 and made into Shortcuts—all are prior Apple Design Award winners for their exemplary support for accessibility functionality and the disability community.

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