(Updated with 2021 Apple Design Award logo) The two winners were recognized for apps that improve “lives in a meaningful way and shine a light on crucial issues.”
In announcing the winners, Apple said the awards recognize those who have brought “bold, creative, and distinctive ideas to life,” adding, “the people who design and build these award-winning apps and games inspire not only their peers in the Apple developer community, but everyone else at Apple, too.”
Utilizing volunteers and representatives from corporate partners to assist visually impaired and low-vision individuals, the Be My Eyes mobile app helps facilitate easy identification of objects, common customer service challenges, and other uses. The app currently supports more than 300,000 visually-impaired and low-vision users, and more than 4.5 million volunteers, across 150-plus countries and 180 languages.
“We did it! Be My Eyes is a 2021 Apple Design Award Winner!” Be My Eyes VP of Community Will Butler wrote on LinkedIn following Apple’s announcement. “Holy cow. You might know we've been around for six years and have changed the lives of about 5 million people; but you might not know we did it with a team of only about 15 people, you have all been a crucial part of making Be My Eyes work. Additional thanks to all the board members, investors and team members past and future who believed in us along the way: This is just the beginning!”
“During the pandemic, Be My Eyes has proved just how big of a difference it can make for people who are blind or have low vision to have access to the best remote visual assistance,” Be My Eyes added on its Facebook page. “And that’s what we work to achieve everyday together with our partners and volunteers.”
Be My Eyes was first launched in Denmark in 2012 by Hans Jørgen Wiberg, a visually-impaired furniture craftsman. Realizing how individuals such as himself required assistance with daily tasks, Wiberg conceptualized video calls staffed by volunteers who could help this community in solving these challenges. The company is supported by its corporate partnerships, members of which include accessibility leaders such as Microsoft, Google, P&G, Verizon and more organizations of all sizes around the globe.
The company’s iOS app followed in 2015, gaining more than 10,000 users in just 24 hours.
This was the second time in as many months that Be My Eyes was honored for its work supporting blind and low-vision people. In May, it earned its first Webby Award for its work in public service and activism.
Last December, Be My Eyes joined InclusionHub, a crowd-sourced database for digital accessibility resources, as a founding partner, further solidifying its position as a leader in digital accessibility.
Written by Todd Kuipers
Todd Kuipers is VP of Sales at Be My Eyes, an app that connects blind and low-vision individuals with sighted volunteers and companies from all over the world through a live video call.
Be My Eyes