What are the Smart Accessibility Awards?
The Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards are a joint initiative between the Vodafone Foundation, AGE Platform Europe (AGE) and the European Disability Forum (EDF) to find the best Android applications that will improve the lives of users who are ageing and/or disabled. With four categories available to enter, researchers and developers can compete for a share of a 200,000 Euro prize fund. Winners of the awards are selected following the votes of a professional jury across two rounds.
What are the categories?
There are four categories within the awards:
- Social participation
- Independent living
What do you mean by the term “disabled” users?
Agreeing on a common definition of disability and disabled users is not an easy task, despite the several attempts undertaken in the past years at various levels. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities considers “that disability is an evolving concept and [...] results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”. To benefit from the web 2.0 society, deaf or hard of hearing persons need text- or video-relay services to communicate with a mobile phone, a blind person requires a text-to-speech software on his-her mobile phone to read the screen,
Are any users associations involved in these awards? If yes, what is their role?
Yes, the awards are a joint initiative between the Vodafone Foundation and user associations the European Disability Forum (EDF) and AGE Platform Europe (AGE).
The supporting users associations will perform a key role in the successful roll-out of the awards, including:
- information and document about the needs, key challenges and trends faced by disabled/ageing users that can be used to focus awards participants
- Judging entries submitted by researchers and developers, assess them in relation to users’ needs
- Promoting the contest within their users’ community
How long have the Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards been running?
The Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards launched for the first time this June.
Which countries do the awards apply to?
The competition is open to anyone. With the exception that participants legally resident within Italy are not eligible to enter this competition.
Why is Vodafone involved in the awards?
We have a strong history of championing innovation, demonstrated through initiatives such as Vodafone Mobile Clicks and our wider Vodafone developer programme. The Smart Accessibility Awards build on this, giving developers an opportunity to create applications that will empower those who might have currently been excluded from the benefice of today’s digital society.
When will the Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards be launched?
The awards will be announced in Brussels on 14 June 2011.
Who can enter the awards?
The awards are open to anyone over the age of 18 years with the exception of participants legally resident within Italy, employees of Vodafone, Vodafone Group Services Limited, Guardian Media Group plc, the European Disability Forum, AGE Platform Europe, Skywrite Communications Limited, Vodafone Group Plc or any of its subsidiary or affiliated companies and anyone otherwise connected with operation or fulfilment of the Competition are not eligible to take part. Vodafone reserves the right to require participants to prove that they are eligible. If the winner of the prize is found to be ineligible, Vodafone reserves the right to award the prize to another participant and to require the return of any prize already awarded.
When and where can I submit my entry?
Entries can be submitted at http://developer.vodafone.com/smartaccess2011/ from 14 June 2011 to 15 October 2011
Who are the judges for the awards?
There will be representatives from:
- European Disability Forum
- AGE Platform Europe
- Vodafone Foundation
- The Guardian
How many rounds of judging are there?
There are two rounds of judging .
A team of experts from EDF, AGE and Vodafone will provide a first screening of all applications submitted. In addition to looking at the entry criteria, EDF and AGE will assess entries in relation to users’ needs and Vodafone will provide technical know-how on applications development and usability. The screen will provide a shortlist of three candidate applications for each category.
For the final round, all 12 shortlisted candidates will be invited to present their ideas at a live final in Brussels in early December. The judging panel will be composed of representatives from EDF, AGE, the Director of the Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone Foundations, Vodafone Group and media partner The Guardian. Following the presentations, the panel will announce the winners of the Smart Accessibility Awards.
What are the timings for the two judging rounds?
Applications should be submitted by 12 noon on 15 October 2011 and a shortlist will then be announced in early November 2011.
Round Two will take place at a live event in early December. Date to be announced shortly.
When will the shortlist of entries be announced?
The shortlist will be announced in November 2011. Date to be announced shortly.
How many people will be shortlisted?
Three finalists per category will be shortlisted to attend the final live judging session in December. Date to be announced shortly.
When is the winner announced?
The winner will be announced in early December.
What will the judges look for from each entry?
All submitted applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Effectiveness:The application submitted should provide real and substantial benefit to thetargeted users in overcoming the obstacles related to their disability and improving their everyday life.
- Availability and affordability: Applicants are encouraged to write apps that can be distributed across as many platforms as possible. All applications must operate on the Android platform version 2.2 (or above) and must meet the terms and conditions of Vodafone’s App Store. Developers are encouraged to make the application relevant to users in as many countries as possible. Availability of the applications in more languages will also be positively evaluated. To maximise the number of potential users that might benefit from the application, the expected charges, if any, to be sought from the user will also be taken into account in the evaluation of the application
- User-friendliness and accessibility: The application’s user-friendliness will be an important factor in the evaluation of the applications. Consideration will also be given to the ease by which the application can be installed and downloaded. Applications should also meet accessibility requirements.
- Design for All: Many users experience multiple disabilities. With ageing, older people in particular tend to develop concurring hearing, visual, cognitive and mobility impairments. Applications that accommodate all these needs in a concept of Design-for-All will be positively evaluated. Persons with disabilities form a heterogeneous group with many different accessibility criteria. Development of assistive technologies and interoperability between different technologies are the key elements in the evaluation.
What other support will Vodafone offer?
Vodafone will host all winning applications in its Vodafone applications store. Vodafone will also commit to working with manufacturers, distribution channels, users’ associations and all other relevant stakeholders to support the distribution of terminals with applications pre-loaded on the terminal.
What prize is involved in winning the award?
The total prize fund is €200,000, which will be split equally across each of the four category winners.
How are the winners paid?
Vodafone will set up winners as a one-time vendor and payment is made via transfer to their bank account.
Where can I find out more information on the Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards?
For further information about the Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards, please go to: developer.vodafone.com/smartaccess2011.
You can also follow the progress of the Awards on Twitter – they will be tweeting from #vsa2011
Where can I find out more information about Vodafone developer?
Information about Vodafone developer can be found at developer.vodafone.com/.
You can also follow the Vodafone developer team on Twitter – they will be tweeting from @vodafonedev