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Transport for London launches prize to design accessible travel app

App developers in the United Kingdom take note: Transport for London has launched a prize for developers who are able to create London public transport apps that cater to users with physical or communication barriers.

In a recent blog posting, the TFL recognized that for years, mobile applications have been helping disabled people better assimilate information. They hope offering up to a £5000 prize in an Accessible App competition will spur a growth in the number of London transport apps that disabled people have available to them.

"The primary objective is to focus the functionality around the needs of the passenger group. Blind or partially sighted passengers, deaf or hearing-impaired passengers and those with learning or motor difficulties could all benefit from the clever use of phone functions, good design and useful features to access our services," TFL said on its website. "Older people who find conventional information challenging may also benefit from a design that allows minimal interaction, easy route planning, simple navigation and journey guidance. What you design is up to you."

A submitted app needn't address the needs of all disabled passengers. For example, the developer could solely focus on designing an app for older people who find conventional information challenging. Another developer could design an app solely to help blind people navigate. The key is simplicity and prizes will be awarded in several different categories. In order to be eligible, apps must be submitted to the TFL by Friday, August 30, 2013. Guidelines of what the judges are looking for in accessible London travel apps can be found here.