The AppleVis Community Names the Apps and Developers that were its Golden Apples of 2017

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

We are pleased to announce the winners of the sixth annual AppleVis Golden Apple Awards.

Since their launch in 2012, the AppleVis Golden Apple Awards have afforded blind and low vision users of Apple products the opportunity to recognize and acknowledge the hard work and dedication which developers have put into making and maintaining great and accessible iOS and macOS applications over the given year.

The AppleVis Golden Apple Winners of 2017

Below are the winners of the 2017 AppleVis Golden Apple Awards, as decided by members of the AppleVis community in a public vote held between 15-21 December 2017:

Best iOS App: Weather Gods

This weather app for iOS takes a unique approach to presenting weather information, and VoiceOver accessibility is a major consideration of the app's design with its developer engaging proactively with blind users to seek feedback and suggestions on how to enhance the user experience..

From the App Store:

Meet the Gods: Fire, Ice, Water, Air & Moon delivering you the Weather as you have never experienced it before. Weather Gods redefines the weather app with painstakingly crafted data visualizations, procedural graphics and audio that enable you to literally see, hear and feel the weather. With no more weather icons to decode, the Weather Gods is simply the quickest, most engaging, most enjoyable way to get the accurate weather information you need.

The Weather Gods skillfully integrates premium weather data into an elegant, iOS Exclusive, easy-to-use interface that will delight casual users and weather enthusiasts alike.

With a wealth of rich weather data from the world’s most respected providers, the Weather Gods provide detailed site-based forecasts for over a million locations worldwide. Our advanced, next-generation notifications are easy to setup and bring you exactly the information you want right when you need it.

With 24 hour charts, observed weather, built in moon phase, widget, world clock and much, much more, the Weather Gods is a powerful personal time machine that lets you travel the world and visit the future. Please come join us on this exciting journey as we begin our mission to bring you the finest, most practical, most enjoyable weather app experience ever. We can’t wait to hear what you think!

Read the AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for Weather Gods

Best iOS Game: Blackbox :: infamous puzzles

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. Blackbox was a 2017 winner of this prestigious award; cited by Apple as recognition of the app 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 Game Center 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.

Ryan McLeod, the developer of Blackbox, has actively engaged with members of the AppleVis community in his efforts to enhance the gameplay and user experience for VoiceOver users.

Read the AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for Blackbox :: infamous puzzles

Best Mac App: Twitterrific 5 for Twitter

Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, The Iconfactory launched in 2017 a totally new version of its Twitter client for the Mac with a modern design that includes support for multiple timelines and accounts; support for macOS notifications; muffle, mute and timeline syncing to the Twitterrific iOS app; and more.

Twitterrific 5 for Twitter also promised and delivered on great VoiceOver support, making it a perfect desktop companion to Twitterrific for iOS.

From the App Store:

Re-imagined from the ground up to be the Mac's most friendly, powerful and modern Twitter client. Twitterrific makes Twitter fun.

A clean, uncluttered timeline featuring just the content you care about. Tweets are presented in chronological order and other people's likes aren't placed in your timeline.

Twitterrific feels right at home on the Mac. Support for Notification Center, Retina displays, built-in sharing, beautiful animations, full-screen mode & more.

Take control of your tweets with multiple timeline windows from the same account or multiple accounts, all organized on your Mac’s desktop.

Navigate the timeline, compose tweets, and even attach image descriptions quickly and easily using Voice Over.

Whether you use Twitterrific on your iPhone, iPad, or another Mac, the app automatically syncs your reading position for a seamless Twitter experience.

Read the AppleVis Mac App Directory entry for Twitterrific

Developer of the Year: Microsoft; Best Assistive iOS App: Seeing AI

Beginning life as a research project to explore ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) could be used to enhance the lives of the vision impaired, Seeing AI harnesses the power of AI to describe text, objects and people.

Since it's launch in July 2017, the tools offered by Seeing AI have evolved and expanded, enabling many blind and low vision users to replace a number of standalone apps with this single app capable of performing multiple tasks.

If there is a ‘must have’ iOS app for blind or low vision users, Seeing AI has claimed that title for 2017. This has also earned it the award as the AppleVis community's Best Assistive iOS App of 2017, and Microsoft the Developer of the Year award.

From the App Store:

Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text and objects.

Optimized for use with VoiceOver, the app enables you to recognize:

  • Short Text - Speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera.
  • Documents - Provides audio guidance to capture a printed page, and recognizes the text, along with its original formatting.
  • Products - Scans barcodes, using audio beeps to guide you; hear the name, and package information when available. (works with iPhone 6 and later)
  • People - Saves people’s faces so you can recognize them, and get an estimate of their age, gender, and emotions.
  • Scenes (early preview) - Hear an overall description of the scene captured.
  • Currency - Recognizes currency notes.
  • Color - Identifies color.
  • Handwriting - Reads handwritten text.
  • Light - Generates an audible tone corresponding to the brightness in the surroundings.
  • Images in other apps - Just tap “Share” and “Recognize with Seeing AI” to describe images from Mail, Photos, Twitter, and more.

Seeing AI is built to help you achieve more by leveraging the power of the cloud and artificial intelligence. As the research progresses, more channels may be added.

Read the AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for Seeing AI

We would like to extend our congratulations to the winners of the 2017 AppleVis Golden Apple Awards. We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season and a prosperous 2018.

The complete list of all apps and developers shortlisted for the 2017 AppleVis Golden Apple Awards is available here.



Submitted by Tasha on Friday, December 22, 2017

I'd like to nominate Facebook for a Rotten Apple award. It has done an excellent job of refusing to fix many accessibility issues, refusing to implement text recognition, and continuing to sell itself as caring deeply about accessibility.

Submitted by splyt on Friday, December 22, 2017

I can see here only 4 cathegories. If I remember it I voted for 5 the aparently remaining one being assistive iOS app.

Did I miss something?

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Friday, December 22, 2017

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hello Splyt,

Seeing AI won Best Assistive iOS App, and Microsoft won Developer of the Year; thus, the two categories were combined under the single heading.

Submitted by Ekaj on Friday, December 22, 2017

I've not used any of these, but will definitely check out the ones for the Mac. In addition, I'm expecting an iPhone any day now or perhaps at least I'll look into getting one. When I get good on it I'll have to check out these iOS apps. I'd also like to say something about Facebook on the Mac. Based on my own experience, FB's accessibility folks are doing a very commendable job. Congratulations from me to each of these winners, and happy holidays to one and all.

Submitted by DrummerGuy on Friday, December 22, 2017

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2017 Golden Apple Awards edition. Without a doubt, very well deserved. After having extended my sincere congratulations to the winners, I wish to thank you all for the great job you have done this year. Thank you for keeping the blind community in mind and for taking The time to create and/or improve your apps. Thank you, developers. Merry Christmas or happy holidays.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Saturday, December 23, 2017

I'm happy that jhe 2 ios. apps that I voted for won! I especially am happy that Weather Gods won this year! This app and the developer so deserve this award!