Apple has announced the winners of this year's prestigious Apple Design Awards; and it's thrilling that two of these will be familiar to most in our community - Be My Eyes and Voice Dream Reader.
The awards honor excellence in innovation, ingenuity, and technical achievement in app and game design. This year, Apple divided the finalists into six different categories: Inclusivity, Delight and Fun, Interaction, Social Impact, Visuals and Graphics, and Innovation.
In each category Apple selected two winners - in all but one case an app and a game, saying that the award winners “inspire not only their peers in the Apple developer community, but everyone at Apple, too.”
“This year’s Apple Design Award winners have redefined what we’ve come to expect from a great app experience, and we congratulate them on a well-deserved win,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. “The work of these developers embodies the essential role apps and games play in our everyday lives, and serve as perfect examples of our six new award categories.”
Be My Eyes won in the Social Impact category, which Apple says honors apps which “improve lives in a meaningful way and shine a light on crucial issues.”
Be My Eyes enables people who are blind and low vision to identify objects by pairing them with volunteers from around the world using their camera. The app supports more than 300,000 blind and low-vision users and more than 4.5 million volunteers, across 150+ countries and 180+ languages.
Voice Dream Reader won in the Inclusivity category, which Apple says honors apps which “provide a great experience for all by supporting people from a diversity of backgrounds, abilities, and languages.”
Voice Dream Reader is a best-in-class text-to-speech app that reads text aloud from just about any digital source, whether it’s a PDF, webpage, or ebook, in more than two dozen languages. Its adaptive features and high level of customizable settings allow anyone to choose a voice with the perfect tone, timbre, accent, and speed for an optimal reading experience.
Our huge congratulations go out to the team behind Be My Eyes, and Winston Chen, developer of Voice Dream Reader.
It has been particularly pleasing to note that inclusivity and accessibility was a theme across most of the award categories this year, rather than being, at best, a category of its own. We applaud Apple for this.
Among the finalists in the Innovation category this year was Blind Drive, an audio-arcade action game described by its developers as an hilarious black comedy that has full VoiceOver support.
Amongst the past winners is Blackbox,, a puzzle game which won an Apple Design Award in 2017 for its accessibility, uniqueness, game play, and innovations.
App: Voice Dream Reader
HoloVista supports a wide variety of accessibility features, including options for motion control, text sizes, text contrast, sound, and visual effect intensity. Purposeful interactions and considerations help achieve gameplay that can be experienced and perceived in more than one way.
Delight and Fun
Game: Pok Pok Playroom
“Pok Pok Playroom” is a playful, and beautifully animated app that captivates users with its thoughtful design and mesmerizing interactions. Thanks to its subtle haptics and spot-on sound effects, this app provides endless hours of fun for kids of all ages, while rewarding creativity and experimentation.
Game: Little Orpheus
“Little Orpheus” is an enjoyable platformer that brings easy controls, excellent storytelling, and a console-like experience to a casual game. Throughout its diverse variety of levels, this game packs a clever surprise at every turn while keeping things light with its comical dialogue.
App: CARROT Weather
CARROT Weather is known for its humorous forecasts and unique visuals. A recent design update has brought simplicity and elegance to its experience across all Apple platforms. From witty weather projections, to a robust set of customizable widgets and a collection of useful watch faces, this app comes packed with endless entertainment.
Game: Bird Alone
“Bird Alone’s” explorative interactions combine gestures, haptics, parallax, and dynamic sound effects that imbue richness into its world. The game is brought to life through clever notification integration, graphics, and music that changes depending on the real-world weather, season, and time of day.
App: Be My Eyes
With a natural reserve being bulldozed by the city to make a hotel, Alba saves local wildlife, repairs the bridge in the reserve, and cleans up trash around town. This game demonstrates the positivity that comes from respecting the environment, while telling a story about family, community, activism, and kindness. For every copy of the game downloaded, one tree will be planted to help a reforestation project in Madagascar.
Visuals and Graphics
Loóna offers gracefully animated sleepscape sessions that combine relaxing activities, storytelling, and atmospheric sounds. Every aspect of its interface — type, color, animation, and 3D content — has been crafted with precision to create a soothing, calming experience.
Game: Genshin Impact
“Genshin Impact’s” heart-pounding battle scenes and far-reaching landscapes push the visual frontier for mobile gaming. Motion blur, shadow quality, and frame rate can be reconfigured on the fly whether players are obliterating slime monsters, summoning earthquakes, flinging lightning, or guiding the wind itself to supercharge flames and blizzards.
NaadSadhana is an all-in-one, studio-quality music app that helps musicians of all genres and any expertise perform and publish their music without boundaries. After first finding its tune as an app for practicing Indian classical singing, NaadSadhana has expanded to support seven different genres of music. And with the help of artificial intelligence and Core ML, the app listens as a singer improvises a vocal line, provides instant feedback on the accuracy of notes, and generates a backing track to match, all in real time.
“League of Legends: Wild Rift” takes a complex PC game and delivers its full experience on mobile. The team at Riot Games has reimagined this beloved title from the ground up, giving players total immersion in the League of Legends universe through polished touchscreen controls that have been designed specifically for mobile, an auto-targeting system to help newcomers find their footing, mobile-exclusive camera settings, and much more.