Every year at its Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC), Apple celebrates and acknowledges through its Apple Design Awards the mobile and desktop apps which raise the bar in design, technology and innovation.
Presented in a ceremony that traditionally follows the WWDC keynote presentation, it was tremendous to see Ryan McLeod - developer of the iOS app Blackbox - think outside the box - winning one of these prestigious awards this year. The award was cited by Apple as recognition of Blackbox being "fully accessible, and offering unique and ingenious gameplay, deep iOS integration, and clever innovations".
According to Apple’s own report on the 2017 Design Awards, Blackbox is:
... a refreshingly stimulating, engrossing, and clever puzzle game that breaks through the “fourth wall” of iPhone to take you beyond the screen and make your world a part of each solution. Designed and developed by one person, Blackbox was chosen as an Apple Design Award winner for being fully accessible, and offering unique and ingenious gameplay, deep iOS integration, and clever innovations. Blackbox offers puzzles that rely on minimalistic clues, deliberate movement, elegant animations, and visual cues to expand creative thinking and encourage players to solve puzzles by turning, shouting, clicking, snapping, and more. It is fully accessible, taking a highly visual interface designed to be navigated by touch and and other sensory inputs, and adding a brilliant sonic interface that enables a new world of gameplay for everyone. It uses haptics for sensory feedback to make puzzles more personal, nuanced, and tactile, and relies heavily on the iPhone’s camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer to enable sensory inputs. Additionally, by using CoreAudio, CoreLocation, Core Telephony, AVCaptureSession, iCloud, and GameCenter in novel ways, this app takes advantage of an enormous range of iOS technologies. Blackbox challenges the player's ingenuity and creativity through innovative presentation and unique interactions. The result is a game that is impressively clever and unlike anything we’ve played before.
As many of you will know, Ryan has actively engaged with members of the AppleVis community in his efforts to enhance the gameplay and user experience of Blackbox for VoiceOver users.
Blackbox - think outside the box is a free download from the iTunes App Store.
Our congratulations go to Ryan for this well-deserved recognition.
This news is yet another tool that can be used by the community when advocating for app accessibility. Not only do we think that fair and equal access is important, but so do Apple, and Apple is prepared to recognize the developers who share that vision.