The AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame: Inductions Re-open and we want your Opinions on Some Basic Rules

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

We're excited to announce that inductions into the AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame are set to re-open.

These were suspended for the past two months so that we could focus on the AppleVis Golden Apple Awards. Now that those have all been handed out, it's time once again to find another app worthy of a place in our Hall of Fame.

We're still deciding on the apps that will feature in the next vote, so there is time left to nominate any apps that you believe should be considered. As always, the nominees in the vote will come from apps which have been suggested by users of this site. So, do get your nominations in now!

We're also currently looking to formalize the rules governing the criteria for nomination and induction into the Hall of Fame - fundamentally, the app should be fully accessible with VoiceOver, but there is likely to be some other criteria too. The most likely is that the app should have been available for at least 6 months. Our reasoning for this goes along the lines that you wouldn't induct a singer into the Rock Hall of Fame on the strength of one song. So, we believe that an app should have an established history and reputation before it can earn a place in our own Hall of Fame.

Perhaps more challenging, is setting the rules which determine if and when an existing inductee can lose its place in the Hall of Fame. Previously, this has happened to TuneIn Radio, which lost its place after some accessibility issues were introduced. Although these weren't major, the developer has failed to fix them ... despite promises to do so. In this instance, it seemed reasonable that the app should lose its place in the Hall of Fame. We gave the developers several months to fix these problems, during which time numerous updates were released. But, to date, no fix has arrived. On this basis, it's extremely difficult to argue that the developers have demonstrated the commitment to accessibility that a place in our Hall of Fame is supposed to acknowledge.

So, the experience with TuneIn has demonstrated that we need to firm-up our rules. It's looking like these will say that an app will lose its place immediately if major accessibility issues are introduced in an update. This seems only appropriate. However, we're still to decide what should happen if minor issues occur. In these instances, it seems only fair to give the developer some time to correct things. Right now, we are thinking this should be 2 months. If, after that, the problems are still present, the app will be removed from our Hall of Fame.

Something else that we have to decide is whether an app should automatically regain its place in the Hall of Fame once the problems are fixed, or if it should have to go through the induction process again ... essentially, earn its place once more.

These are all questions that we would love to hear your opinions on. So, do please post a comment to share any thoughts or suggestions that you have on the rules for induction into our Hall of Fame.

One fairly obvious rule, is that the app must be available in the App Store. And, on that basis, we have now removed Papa Sangre from our Hall of Fame. It's now been more than 3 months since this was withdrawn from the App Store. And, despite comments on the developer's website that this was only a temporary measure, there is nothing to indicate that it is on it way back any time soon. So, for now, its induction into our Hall of Fame has been suspended. If it does return to the App Store, we will then have to decide whether it will automatically regain its place in the Hall. This is likely to depend upon the state of the app when it returns. If it's as great and accessible as previously, then there will be a strong case for it going straight back into the Hall.

But, for now, our thoughts are with the apps that should be fighting it out to be the next inductee. So, do please make your nominations and then be sure to check back next week when we expect to have the vote open.

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#1 My thoughts

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

First, I think if an app is removed due to minor accessibility problems, it should be given two updates, not two months, to be fixed before being automatically removed. Devs often do their work in their spare time, and Apple's review process can take time (if even one small problem is introduced that causes the update to be rejected, it must be fixed and the app re-submitted). Second, I think re-induction should likewise be given two updates. If an app is inducted and then breaks accessibility, it should be flagged so users can see the problems if they look up the apps in the Hall, then the app should be removed if two updates pass with little to no improvement. As I think about it, there should probably be a cap on how long those two updates can take, maybe four or six months. Yes, updates can take a while, but the Hall is supposed to have only apps that users can know will work perfectly with vo (hence the flagging idea). So, maybe change the above "two updates" to "two updates or six months".

#2 My thoughts on the hall of fame.

Requiring an app to have been in the app store for 6 months seems a bit long. If the same rule had been in place for the Golden Apples, Fleksy would have been about a month short of eligibility when nominations closed. Perhaps 3 or 4 months? I think the previous suggestion of giving an app 2 updates to fix accessibility issues is a good one. I would suggest 2 updates or 2 months, whichever is longest. I really do believe that for minor accessibility issues, that removal should be put to a vote, just as induction is. My own vote would have been not to remove TuneIn radio. I most likely would have been outvoted here, but the option should exist. As for an app getting its place back , if things remain as they are now, I think it is good to automatically reinstate an app when the issues are fixed. Perhaps only once. If it happens again, the app would need to go through the normal process. If my previous suggestion of voting for removals is put in place, maybe automatically giving back spots wouldn't be quite as necessary.

#3 My opinion on the AppleVis Hall of Fame

I think that if an app deserves the right to be in the Hall of Fame, I believe that it should be in the app store for about three to four months. I think that six months is too long. In addition, if the app gets fifty or more positive comments within the first two to three days of entry, that it has the right to get inducted in that month. As for an app losing its place in the hall of fame, I think that if the developers do not fix the issues within two( two updates) it should be pulled from the hall of fame, and should never be allowed back into the hall of fame, even if it becomes accessible. This also applies to any campaign of the month. If an app becomes accessible as a result of the campaign, it should not be allowed to be inducted into the AppleVis Hall of Fame. The apps that get inducted into the Hall of Fame should be those app developers who care about the visually impaired community and make their apps accessible.

#4 criteria for losing Hall of Fame status

I agree with the AppleVis Team that apps whose developers let their accessibility lapse should be "demoted" out of the Hall of Fame.

#5 My Thoughts on Entries and Exits

I don't have an aversion to a waiting list for entry, but I don't see it as necessary. Some apps come out of the chute fully accessible and filling gaps in the app landscape. Some exampples might be Fleksy, or Digit-Eyes. Both were designed to be accessible and did something no other apps were doing. I'm not sure what could be gained by putting them through a waiting period. Then there is the removal of apps. I agree that developers should be given a chance to fix an app that previously worked, but somehow got broken. I think the entry in the Hall should immediately reflect that an app is broken so no one buys it expecting something they're not going to get. I concur that two updates really should be enough to fix a problem. Once removed, I think an app that is back to full accessibility could be fast tracked into the Hall with an asterix denoting its history.

#6 inducting apps that were campaigns

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I disagree that apps made accessible due to campaigns are disqualified. After all, some devs simply have no idea about accessibility, but step up to the plate and fix things once they are asked to do so. Of course, no lenience should be given to these apps; even if an app goes from not accessible to mostly accessible, that improvement should not grant it special status. Apps should still need to be fully accessible before getting inducted. Maybe there could be some way to watch an app - if it is accessible, and remains that way for its next update, then it would be open to consideration. I don't know for sure about that last one, I'm just tossing it out there.

#7 My Opinion

I yhink if a developer makes an effort to make an app accessible even though it it is not perfect, It shouldn't be removed from the Hall of Fame as long as it is still useable with only minor issues. I do agree that an app should be pulled if it is no longer in the app store. I don't feel that there should be a set time limit to determine whether an app should be allowed in the in the Hall of Fame. If it is developed specifically with the blind user in mind and it is useful and accessible, then it should be permitted.

#8 Apps don't always live up to initial perceptions

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

There are a number of apps which based upon their initial reception you would expect to see in the Hall of Fame - VoiceBook VO, LookTel Recognizer and perhaps even MyWay come to mind (and I am sure that there are lots more).Unfortunately, these apps don't always prove to be as good or as useful as first impressions indicated.So, for that reason, I would be very reluctant to have no rule that required the app to have been available for a certain amount of time before it is eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame.

#9 I think we should be a little harsher

I believe that any app in the hall of fame should definitely be fully accessible. I promote a three month or two update period to fix problems, whichever is shorter. I also advocate making the apps earn their way back into the hall of fame; if you lose the trust of someone, you don't immediately get it back after appologizing and undoing the particular damage. On the other hand, I believe that apps that are removed from the app store should be removed but immediately put back when the app is reinstated.

#10 My two cents

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi. I see what you mean in the above comment. I do though think that six months is a bit long, perhaps three or four months would be enough. I like the idea of giving a developer two updates to fix problems before removing an app from the hall of fame. Once removed, I thought that maybe if the issues are resolved within a certain amount of time after its removal, say six months, it would be automatically reinstated. After that period of time has elapsed, the app would have to go through the full process to earn its place back.

#11 Lots to reflect on

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Many thanks to everybody who has already shared their thoughts on this. It has given us plenty to consider as we formalize the rules.One decision that we have made, is that we will no longer be having an induction each and every month. Our intention is to only hold two votes each year for induction, although it is likely that more than one app will be inducted from each vote.We believe that this will boost the significance of induction and ensure that we have such great shortlists that you will find it even harder to decide which app to vote for!

#12 When should apps lose their place in the Hall of Fame?

I think apps should lose their place and have to win it again when accessibility is not taken into account when they are updated. In short, once they are accessible, they must continue being like that in later versions, or they must even fix bugs, if they have some.