Enabling people to connect goes to the very heart of what Telstra stands for. Our purpose is to create a brilliant connected future for everyone. On this 2015 International Day of People with Disability we are reminded again of the importance of building accessible apps to ensure more Australians can take advantage of the possibilities of the digital world.

One accessible app, in particular, has made a world of difference to retired accountant and disability access advocate, Meredith Allan, who has a physical and speech impairment. Meredith has been using the National Relay Service (NRS) for 15 years to make phone calls.

“I started using the NRS in 2000 mainly for work and making doctors’ appointments,” said Meredith. “Back then I had to use my Teletypewriter (TTY) and Speech Generation Device to make a call and it could be pretty slow.

“I eventually moved on to making calls through the internet, but when I found out about the NRS app I downloaded it as soon as possible and it’s been great. It’s so accessible and I’m getting much more done and making faster calls,” said Meredith.

There is no doubt apps are changing people’s lives, and accessible apps are changing many people’s lives. That’s why Telstra was pleased to present the prizes in this year’s Apps for All awards competition at the 2015 Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) national conference.

In presenting the awards, Andrew Coull, Executive Director Telstra Country Wide, said “We know that people with disability in Australia are much less likely to be accessing the internet. In fact, according to the last Australian Bureau of Statistics figures (2012) only 58% of people with a disability access the internet at home, compared to 80% overall. We must close this digital divide and that requires apps to be for all.”

Apps for All winners for 2015

  • Most innovative app designed for people with disability or older Australians
    NRS app – National Relay Service
    The NRS app gives National Relay Service users mobile access to a range of NRS services.
  • Most accessible mainstream app
    RentRight – Consumer Affairs Victoria
    RentRight is a free smartphone app, available for iPhone and Android users. It has information and tools to help landlords in Victoria manage their properties, and renters manage their tenancies.
  • Most accessible children’s app
    Thread – The Carly Ryan Foundation
    Thread gives parents discreet contact with their children when they are not in a supervised environment while also teaching children about personal safety.
  • Most accessible game app
    Rapitap – 22 Point
    Rapitap is a short, fast-paced game testing response time with multi levels of difficulty.

At Telstra we believe that accessible design is good design, which informs everything we do. On this International Day of People with Disability Telstra congratulates the Apps for All winners and encourages all app developers to make accessibility a key criteria in their design and development processes.