I covered the 2011 Vodafone Smart Accessibility Awards in some detail and at the time I said one of the most important aspects of the awards wasn’t just Vodafone’s recognition of the category but the commitment to run the event again.
The excellent Mobile Monday organisation is again working with Vodafone to recruit developers and encourage people to apply. As with last year there are four categories, each with a prize of €50,000. Even with the depressed value of the euro that’s a good chunk of money. This is real cash, not a vale of marketing or services. Just being a finalist can open doors to many of the players in the market and help build a business for a small developer who is doing the right thing.
The four categories are:
Social participation: refers to applications which help users to become more involved in today’s society and help them benefit from using new technologies, whatever their age and/or capacity. The aim is to help everyone to access the web and social media through smartphones.
Last Year’s winner was BIG launcher, a replacement home screen which gives six large, easy to see buttons.
Independent living: refers to applications which help users with everyday tasks such as washing or opening a door easily and safely so that they can live more independently
Last year’s winner was Zoom Plus, probably my favourite of the winners. This uses the phone’s camera to turn it into a smart magnifier, not just increasing the size of what you look at through the phone but changing the colour balance to help those with dyslexia and colour blindness.
Mobility: refers to applications which enable users to travel freely and safely whatever kind of transport system they would like to use. It also refers to the use of GPS and locations apps which can help guide people in unfamiliar places.
Last year’s winner was Wheelmap, a mapping program which shows how accessible various places are by wheelchair. We are all used to using Bing or Google maps when out and about, and lost but wheelchair users have special needs and what might seem an obvious rout might be impassable.
Wellbeing: refers to applications which improve the users’ health and overall feeling of wellbeing.
The winner for this last year was Help talk which improves communication between paitients with restricted mobility and health professionals.
The closing date for entries to the Vodafone Smart Accessibility Awards is October 15th, which sounds ages away but in reality is going to come rather quickly. Mobile Monday will l be organising some workshops for people to gain a more in-depth appreciation of the issues.
The Vodafone site where you can find out more and register is http://developer.vodafone.com/smartaccess2012/home/

The first important diary date is Monday 11 June when Mobile Monday is running an event on Inclusive and Accessible Design. Come along and find out more. It’s free, there will be drinks and interesting people. To register go to http://momolondon-2012-06-11-y.eventbrite.co.uk/