Proposing a Rotten Apple award and nominating the first nominee

Accessibility Advocacy

Hi all!

I was inspired to see the invitation to vote on the nominees for the Golden Apple awards.

I've used several of the aps nominated, and all are deserving of recognition for the good service they provide.

When I contemplate what I expect from the industry, I feel we are not served as well as we could or should be. It is in that spirit, that I propose a Rotten Apple Award.

This is an award that should be offered to a company agency and/or developer. To qualify, the company promotes their ap actively but ignores any user input requesting improvements in acdcessibility.

To this end, I propose to nominate Blueubble Taxi receive a Rotten Apple award.

When I contacted their local agency, they treated me with a concerned voice, but upon my raising the issue of ap accessibility, stated they had nothing to do with the ap. When I ordered a cab, they advised me when my assigned cab was 400 metres away, and the same text requested that I use their free booking ap. That ap is in the ap store, but is not accessible to voiceover, relying largely upon a visual map. It is for these reasons that I believe Bluwebubble Taxi is a deserving nominee of a Rotten Apple award. .



Submitted by Darrell Hilliker on Friday, December 18, 2015

I like the Rotten Apple Award idea.

I would like to nominate Trivia Crack for its failure to respond to accessibility requests and ongoing decline in overall accessibility.

Submitted by alex wallis on Friday, December 18, 2015

I would like to nominate sky who's app went basically accessible for a time providing basic tv guide and planner access. However beyond that they didn't listen to user feedback for example providing access to the rotor for deleting programs, or access to the table index for tv guide navigation. Since making those suggestions to them planner accessibility has dramatically deteriorated and hasn't improved despite several versions being released, and even a request from the RNIB. Unfortunately I think the apps so far mentioned including my own are very user specific cases, and I wonder if this would really be a useful exercise. Just like applevis's campaign of the month feature which as far as I know had limited impact and has now stopped.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, December 18, 2015

Trivia crack is good, but lyft is going down hill. So I think lyft deserves that more then nomination. They say they will work on x y and z but nothing has changed.

Overcast is also another one. They never respond to app dev questions and never seem to change anything, including poor voiceover focus issues.

For mac I'd include twitterrific as they say they cannot make their app accessible but I don't believe that for a minute, and tweetbot as well. Same with tweetdeck and tween.

Submitted by Darren12 on Friday, December 18, 2015

I think if your highlighting best in class apps that embrace accessibility, It's only sensible to also provide a way of at least focusing on those that don't. I firmly believe that all apps that can realistically be made accessible, given their purpose and function, should be. Any app that isn't overtly visual, should in any proper society work with Voiceover. It's not difficult after all. I therefore think nominating particular apps for a rotten Apple is a good idea. My nominee is Evernote.

Submitted by Darrell Hilliker on Saturday, December 19, 2015

As of Dec. 17, the latest version of Lyft is riddled with unlabeled buttons. I opened a ticket with Lyft this morning, but, so far, I have heard nothing from the company.

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Saturday, December 19, 2015

My nomination for worst developer goes to tapbots, the people who make tweetbot for both iOS and Mac. Neither app works all that well and requests for accessibility have been mostly ignored. A few years ago there was a time when iOS tweetbot actually got some fixes, but the UI redesigns that happened afterwards pretty much wiped that progress out.

I'm sick of them. Sky Go is completely unusable for me, can't access any way to play programs. If it comes to the AppleTV I might be happy but knowing them, they'll find some way to mess up. I've contacted Sky a few times but they're not bothered much about accessibility, they're all talk.

Submitted by Hubert on Saturday, December 19, 2015

This is quite an interesting suggestion on one hand. However, as much as I do understand the true reasoning behind this award, I have to say that I doubt this will encourage any app developer to do anything to improve the accessibility of their app. As much as it very clearly points out that their app is inaccessible and people aren't happy about it, there are developers that will quite simply take that rotten apple award, and in a virtual or physical manner, depending on how the award is presented, will put it in the bin. Just saying, there are many other ways of encouraging developers to improve their apps, if they ignore you, well, there's not much else we can do about that unfortunately.

Submitted by Chris Smart on Saturday, December 19, 2015

I think this is an excellent suggestion. We champion and promote the accessibility successes, so why not call out those developers who actively keep their heads in the sand as well?

As a guitarist, my wrotten apple award goes to all apps by Positive Grid. Bias, Bias Pro, Jam Up Pro, Bias Pedal, all of them are an accessibility disaster.

Runner up goes to IK Multimedia. Amplitube could probably be made accessible fairly easily - Voiceover reads lots of things, but none of them seem to do anything when double-tapped.

So, who wants to set up a poll, similar to that for the Golden Apple Awards, with various categories and nominees?

Submitted by Cliff on Saturday, December 19, 2015

Great idea! My vote goes to spotify for mac, if it is aloud to include mac-apps...
Although many of us has contacted spotify numerous times to try to encourage them to make their mac app accessible, nothing has changed and I don't even believe they've ever taken the time to reply back to one of us.
Their lack of interrest of doing anything for us VoiceOver users is the main reason why I have ended my spotify premium subscription and now fully rely on Apple Music.
But I still wish strongly that I one day will be able to use spotify efficiently on my mac.

Submitted by Carolyn on Thursday, January 7, 2016

Goood idea. I'd like to nominate Electronic Arts, who has never responded to anyone.

Submitted by Derrick on Thursday, January 7, 2016

In reply to by Darrell Hilliker

I have no problems using the trivia crack apps. The only thing and to me it isn't even a game changer is the question submision area. I don't even care about that part of the app. The trivia crack kingdoms has almost no unlabeled buttons. This of course is only my humble opinion

If I were an app developer, and the word was spread that I don't care about accessiblity, I would take notice. And Applevis is where such posts get noticed by those who they ill affect. So, yes, there is something we can do if we have documentation regarding what we have done as far as contacting the developer and their response or a lack thereof. We can also, possibly, contact Apple about the developer's lack of cooperation. Rate their app and state why you give the rating. App store users will notice, and the developer will notice a declining raing and try to find out why. Maybe this will drive the message home and things will change.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Thursday, January 7, 2016

Electronic Arts COULD be the prublem, but maybe they are simply using the unity graphic engine like most. There's no way for a dev to make their app accessible if using Unity unless they want to add recorded speech to their games. Unity needs to be contacted, and if they've already been contacted by more than just a handful of us, then they deserve the rotten apple.

Submitted by Toonhead on Friday, January 8, 2016

I think the only way a rotten apple award would really do the intended job is if the developers actually sit up and pay attention. We have to go where the developers hang out, we can't just sit here, talk about how bad the accessibility of an app is and just expect it to magicly get better. App developers aren't just going to stumble across Applevis. They have to be told that it exists. So, if you really think an app's accessibility sucks royally, the best thing you can do is send a review of the app that mentions the lac of accessibility. If enough people do this, and if the app receives enough negative attention, that'll make the developer sit up and pay attention. If only one or two people do it, that's not going to cary a lot of weight. The demand has to be really high for them to really feel like the effort they put in to it will be worth it, and they'll actually get a return on their investment. So, if an app you have asks you to rate it, go ahead and do so, it only takes a few minutes. This really does seem to be the best communication method for most developers. They really pay close attention to app store ratings.

Submitted by David Allen on Friday, January 8, 2016

Finally nice to see a good reason for ratings. If any way of getting their attention, then it might be worth it. For certain the effort so far hasn't achieved anything, though I appreciated the comments here.

Submitted by Mitchell on Friday, January 8, 2016

,Rotten, Apple wouldn't really make them feel like they should do anything ahut it. "Oh, the AppleVis community calls our app rotten because of our lack of accessibility? Not my problem, forget them." We need to go at it so the devs don't get that notion in there heads. Good idea, though.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Friday, January 8, 2016

So, they have now ruined the Sky Sports app as well, at least up to a point. The biggest frustration for me, however, is still Sky+ as I use that a lot especially since the TV Planner app now appears to be defunct and won't work for me on the latest IOS. So, back to sky+ and what's wrong with it: why is the planner so hopeless to navigate with Voiceover now? Why can I only watch a recording from the start or from where I last viewed, without the opportunity to rewind and fast-forward? In fact, why is the remote control function so severely limited with no volume adjustment, no channel up or down, no rewind and fast-forward as aforesaid? Why is the TV Guide so rotten to navigate, such that when exiting out of a channel listing I'm back at the beginning again? I've asked Sky all these questions, and answer came there none. Incidentally, do any of you using Sky have an alternative solution for rewind and fast-forward? I can't get them to work on the physical Sky remote for some reason.

Submitted by splyt on Friday, January 8, 2016

I am pasting part of one comment below:

App developers aren't just going to stumble across Applevis. They have to be told that it exists

This comment is very good but there's something going on here:
I have seen a lot of devs finding and using AppleVis ... because they have realised their app must be more acessible.
When getting to AppleVis they usually find a comunity that treats them very well, offer theirselves to test, to give good feedback and when these apps get really very good accessibility AppleVis gives them a reward in terms of great acessible apps.

now .. let's go treat very bad devs who have not implemented accessibility.

We punish them, anounce them as bad guys, spread the AppleVis bad award, make everyone know .... two things will happen:

1- Devs won't be giving a sh**t on it because they aren't doing so now that no award exists.
2- But evemtually they will know AppleVis because someone will tell them AppleVis is trying to delight their apps and will let other devs know that those nasty guys are messing up developpers (I am not saying they are right but they will think this way)
3- Finally, when a dev who has nothing to do with all this situation finds their app needs to be more accessible, they will come to AppleVis .... and the first thing they'll notice is that the site npunishes apps and that other devs do not apreciate it because those guys are nasty. Where those good devs who are really trying to make their app accessible will go then?

Nop, my friends. Let's use our strategic habilities to do something not as ridiculous as this. First, we "hurt" devs where they will feel the mmost, on ratings and reviews on appstore and on other big popular iOS sites by submiting reviews making clear the bad accessibility.
And, when they move forward to look for help to make their apps more acessible and reach this website we will treat them very well and offer our help, as we always have been doing cinse I know AppleVis.

This is more likely to work and will be more efective .. at least this is what I think.

Submitted by Toonhead on Friday, January 8, 2016

Hey like I said, the best way to go about this is to go to the app store, find the sky app and leave them a poor rating and a review with all the comments you just made here. The guys who develop the sky app aren't going to see them on this site unless someone points them in the right direction. We have to go where they're hanging out and if enough people leave negative comments for apps that have bad accessibility, something has a better chance of working.

Submitted by hypnotic on Friday, January 8, 2016

You're having focus issues with overcast? I remember he broke something a few versions ago and it was really frustrating with VO, but he fixed it right away, and it's been pretty rocksteady, I use it all day everyday.

Submitted by Krister Ekstrom on Friday, January 8, 2016

Spotify can be used on the Mac. It requires a script "accessible spotify" which can be linked to a key command in Voiceover. This script opens a web like interface where you can do most everything you can do on the iPhone app provided you want to learn the interface.

Submitted by Krister Ekstrom on Friday, January 8, 2016

Let me say this first: I shouldn't be posting here at all, because i don't think this kind of thread moves us forward one bit. As someone said earlier there are other ways of encouraging developers but since the moaning party has started i'll contribute with another mac app: Radio logik, they are so close but yet so far. Playlists, queues and other lists in the app aren't accessible and i mean they are not accessible it's not just a button here and there that's unlabeled and that i could label myself given the right hints, the lists are simply not spoken at all by VO but the scroll bars are visible. The developer claims he'll maybe work on it at some stage but he's afraid that he'll make new bugs now that he's squashed old ones, which i find quite remarkable.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Friday, January 8, 2016

Point taken, but when you've done all of that and not progressed matters there's naught else to do really. I don't think this is a moaning party thread by the way. it's not at all vitreolic like some moaning party 2015 vintage.

Submitted by david s on Friday, January 8, 2016


I don’t usually provide ratings on my app purchases but might start doing so. When providing a rating and comments, are you allowed to include a URL? If so, perhaps creating a topic here in applevis with all the accessability issues then providing a low rating and refer to the topic you created might work. This will hopefully engage the developer into discussions on what needs to be done and how to go about doing it. Remember to update the rating if the issues are resolved.

Submitted by Luke on Sunday, January 10, 2016

I would definitely love to let developers have it when they release inaccessible apps and are unwilling to make them better. However, I am of the attract more bees with honey philosophy. I think we get more mileage out of rewarding and recognizing the positive efforts of developers who do come forward and make their apps better for all users

Submitted by charles on Monday, January 11, 2016

In reply to by Luke

While true, it's not for this thread. We're discussing the possibility of a "rotten apple" award and possible cures and ways to get the message that accessibility needs to be incorporated into apps. So, although sweetness and being positive is appropriate in some cases, there are cases where it is not warranted, mainly because that approach has not been working when previously tried. After being totally ignored by developers of apps when I have made the effort to be polite and hopefully informative on how they could improve, if they only would, a different and more direct approach is needed. I'm thinking that a bad app store rating, including the reason for the bad rating, should get the message across to them.

Submitted by Orinks on Monday, January 11, 2016

I believe that the "Rotten Apple" award is a great idea. While it might not get devs attention, it simply just makes sense to call out the bad developers.
Since unfortunately there is no way to argue with the RadioLogik developer, jay, without going off the rails and getting very mad, possibly causing him to ignore us--that logic is simply stupid, if new bugs are introduced with new changes, you fix 'em. Another radio app is MegaSeg. I heard that someone was working on testing MegaSeg with the developers, Jordan from the now defunked Mac Access mailing list and website. I am not sure what happened to that testing, but attempts to contactt Megaseg support have been largely ignored.

Submitted by Laszlo on Monday, January 11, 2016

This is my third time coming back to this topic in hopes of writing something that would actually contribute to the discussion. As you'll probably have gathered, the other two times I didn't post my reply...mainly because I didn't think it well-articulated enough. But honestly, guys...

This whole "Rotten Apple Award" idea is embarrassing.

I understand that people who haven't had success with politer forms of advocacy want to do more. And if you've tried asking politely and haven't gotten a reasonable level of cooperation from developers, you have every right to be frustrated and wanting to try new strategies. However, insulting developers with a "Rotten Apple Award" says, in no uncertain terms, "Your app stinks, and so do you." Is that really the message we want to send?

Rather than insulting developers, I think we as a community should focus on the facts. I believe there's a way to talk about the facts ("I've e-mailed the developer 5 times over the last year about accessibility, and meanwhile their app has regressed in terms of VoiceOver support..." without getting into insults. In so doing, we're more likely to be taken seriously by developers looking to improve the accessibility of their apps...because we'll have stuck to the facts and stayed clear of name-calling.

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Monday, January 11, 2016

heres one that deserves a rotten apple award. before some of you go bitching about how i have or have not contacted this dev, rest assured i've spoken with them via phone and email. the app i am talking about is the schwans app for purchasing food from schwans. you can't do a thing with it what so ever.want to log in? don't even try it. want to look at your lists? you can't do that either. want to change settings? nope, you just flat out won't be doing this. in otherwords, voiceover and this app don't work at all, plain and simple.

Submitted by matt on Monday, January 11, 2016

I think an "award" like this does more harm then good. I am not excusing a lack of accessibility in apps because it is important developers are made aware of how their apps could be better but i feel that an award like this is more or less shaming a developer. If i was that developer and i received one of these i would be more like to tune out any further supportt requests. Double negatives don't get you anything.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Monday, January 11, 2016

Thank you Lad for your post. Throwing darts at app developers just makes the visually impaired community look like we are a bunch of second graders pouting because they don't get their way. I appreciate your courage in going against the flow with this posting. Personally, I think this post should not continue because it will not help but only harm advocacy with app developers. Besides, if an app developer refuses to work with their apps to make them more accessible, we can always go elsewhere and focus on those developers/apps that do work. Money talks, after all. If a product is defective and no one buys it then it will eventually go away and make room for those that do.

Submitted by Mitchell on Monday, January 11, 2016

The notion that all apps should be made accessible, while a good notion to have, gets annoying After a while. In reality, the world doesn't really care about app accessibility, and we should be happy with what we have. I'm sorry, but we shouldn't be giving this aweld, because this will not have positive impact on the way the sighted world thinksbout us.

To those who feel that we are little kids, pouting until we get our way, I find this attitude highly insulting! The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you only send positive feedback to developers who do nothing to improve their apps when Voice-Over access does not improve, or even worse, when Voice-Over access gets even worse than in previous updates, you are sending the wrong message. They will do nothing if they don't know about the problems we encounter. If they ignore attempts to work with them to resolve the issues we are having, what does that say about their concern for customer service? This is why I feel that app store ratings is the way to get the message across, but only after the developer has been contacted and we have not gotten satisfactory results. To make our point, state why the rating is given, but state it honestly. Rather than worry about their reaction, or about offending them, BE!!! HONEST!!! As someone stated, "money talks". If this is true, then nail or enhance their pocketbooks with honest ratings based on their course of action that is based on honestly written app store reviews.

Submitted by Mitchell on Monday, January 11, 2016

I'm all for the ratings. That's probably the best way we can come across to the developers that they need to improve their accessibility. The award idea wouldn't be the right choice because if we awarded them for not doing anything, they probably wouldn't care.

Submitted by Laszlo on Monday, January 11, 2016


I agree with you that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I also agree with you that sending developers only positive feedback, or being afraid to criticize accessibility failures for fear of how developers will respond, is not a good approach. Lastly, I agree with you that detailing factual information about accessibility issues in App Store reviews and ratings is a good avenue to try.

The issue I have with the theoretical "Rotten Apple Award" is that the spirit of the whole thing seems to be more shaming developers into compliance, rather than actually approaching developers in formats and ways which would be meaningful to them. (App Store reviews and ratings, etc.) If I were a developer, clueless about accessibility and why it was important...enough negative App Store ratings would motivate me far more than reading this topic ever would. To me, this Rotten Apple thing seems like more of an outlet for people to vent frustration than to actually affect positive change.

Submitted by Joseph on Monday, January 11, 2016

I have to agree with Vlad here. He said it better than i could, so I won't bother acting like the broken record.

Like a lot of options, the "rotten apple" award's effect is based on how we use it and how developers take it. We can give constructive criticism as part of the award. We can bad mouth the developer with out offering solutions. What we, the users, do determines the value of the outlet. It is what we mold it into.

Submitted by Megan on Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I very much like the idea of having a way to call out specific apps who are needlessly inaccessible. However, I think that calling them "rotten" apples is a bit derogatory, and doesn't do a lot to make us, the blind community, look good. As other posters above said, it seems very pouty to me. But what if we took the idea and put a more positive spin on it? Apps most in need of TLC, unripened apples, etc? If this is going to be a thing, I'm of the opinion that it needs to be made an avenue for constructive criticism rather than shaming.

Submitted by Eric Davis on Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I am in line with the last 3 people. We must be a guiding light for the people who creat apps, not a source of ridicule. We have the Golden Apple now let's have one that acknowledges the most progress that was made on an app. Not just shout that this one doesn't work. Advocacy has to be pared with professionalism to work the way it is intended to.

I, for one, am tired of worrying about how we look. More important is who we are, and that is paying customers who want our money's worth, regardless of how much eyesight we have or have not. If a group of customers are ignored, don't they have the right to do something about it? Whatever avenue you take to get things done, let us know the results and we'll go from there if your results are positive. Keep in mind that developers have already, on a very regular basis, done nothing to improve Voice-Over accessibility after they have been contacted directly, sometimes over a period of two or more years. If you want to continue what hasn't worked because of how it might make us look, good luck. Otherwise, let's try something that might get the desired result. I don't mean that we have to use a poisoned pen, but I certainly don't advise continuing to use the honey that hasn't worked in the past.

Submitted by Laszlo on Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I think you might be misunderstanding where I'm coming from here.

I am 110% in support of confronting developers with factual information about app accessibility issues. As you yourself said, we're paying customers (at least in the case of paid apps), and if the app has accessibility or other issues...users have every right to speak up. If developers can't handle honest, constructive criticism...they should probably find another line of work.

What I'm not in support of, however, is people being derogatory towards developers because of accessibility issues. There is a way to be persistent and make issues known...without being purposefully nasty. We can and should call accessibility failures what they are. But...again going back to the whole spirit behind the hypothetical "Rotten Apple Award" strikes me as both immature and spiteful. And, again, before you tell me to keep on using the honey that hasn't worked...I reiterate that I believe developers can and should be held accountable for accessibility failures. There is a right way and a wrong way to hold developers accountable for accessibility issues, however; telling developers their app is a "rotten apple," or whatever some people on here want to do, is definitely the wrong way.

So where do we go from here, and how do we move forward productively? I think App Store reviews are a great way to get the attention of developers if they won't respond to e-mail or other methods of contact. In reviews, I think it would be helpful to be as detailed as possible--both for the developers well as for other customers who might read it. If it were me writing the review, I would include information about how many times I contacted the developers and on which platforms; what response I got, if any; and how accessibility has improved or regressed since I either started using the app or first made contact. I would also include detailed information about the issues I was experiencing, how the issues affected me as a VoiceOver user, and what I think the developer could do to rectify the problem (e.g. properly label buttons, etc.).

Submitted by Mitchell on Friday, January 15, 2016

I feel that the blog post by Michael Hansen really says it all about the way we should contact developers.

Submitted by Joseph on Friday, January 15, 2016

I totally agreed, having just come over here from reading it.