It comes as no surprise to me that djay Pro has won a second Apple design award, the first company to do so. Backslapping aside, there are very good reasons for this, and one of those is accessibility. And a key Apple technology called VoiceOver allows visually impaired DJs use djay Pro even though seeing what is happening is normally a prerequisite to performing.
You’ll see it happening in this video from the WWDC this year. Ryan Dour who works in the accessibility team at Apple is also a DJ, and using VoiceOver he can get audio feedback from the controls in djay Pro. As the video shows, this feedback can be pushed into the cue channels so the audience doesn’t hear it. Clever stuff.
Algoriddim wins 2016 Apple Design Award for djay Pro on iPad and Mac
Apple honors Algoriddim for outstanding design and innovation, particularly for making its DJ software fully accessible to the visually impaired
(MUNICH, Germany) – June 23, 2016 Algoriddim, creators of the world’s best selling DJ app with over 20 million downloads, wins the 2016 Apple Design Award. After receiving the award in 2011 for djay for iPad, Algoriddim is the first developer to receive the coveted award twice for the same product line since the introduction of the App Store. According to Apple djay Pro was selected for the second time as an Apple Design Award winner because it sets new benchmarks for performance, features, use of Apple technology, multidevice support, and most importantly for being accessible to the visually impaired. Apple demoed the app by having a blind DJ drop a few beats during the awards ceremony:
“We are incredibly honored to receive the Apple Design Award for the second time,” said Karim Morsy, CEO of Algoriddim. “We founded Algoriddim 10 years ago with the vision to make DJing accessible to anyone. By now making our app fully accessible for the visually impaired, we have expanded our mission to open the world of DJing to blind users and take away their barriers to musical creativity. We hope to inspire more developers to make their software accessible, with relatively little effort you can make a big difference to people’s lives.”
By adding support for VoiceOver, djay Pro allows people with disabilities to use a fullfeatured DJ setup to mix music, whether professionally or as someone who just loves to play with music. Every feature of djay Pro has been carefully adapted for accessibility, so vision impaired users can seamlessly dive into the app and take advantage of its advanced mixing features.
With VoiceOver enabled, tripleclicking the Home button allows users to tap any button or slider in djay Pro to hear a description of what it does, its state, and how to operate it. For example, tapping the tempo slider will tell by what percentage a song’s tempo has been changed, the BPM display will read out its number of beats per minute, and djay Pro will even tell users the key of a song as in “B flat minor”. This process allows visually impaired users both navigate and explore the user interface while ensuring they are always hitting the intended button. By double tapping the individual control the user can then perform the original action.
The basic process of DJing is to seamlessly mix the playing track into the next track. And to do this successfully, you need to be able to prelisten or cue the next track in your headphones to make sure it’s beatmatched and sounding great for the dance floor. djay Pro’s seamless support for multichannel audio interfaces not only make this possible, but with VoiceOver enabled users can even hear a description of everything happening on their screen through their headphones independent of the mix that is playing through the main speakers. This revolutionizes the workflow for impaired users and opens to them the door to live creativity like never before.
Over the past 10 years, Algoriddim established itself as a leading innovator of DJ software winning multiple Apple Design Awards, App of the Year, and more than 8 Editors’ Choice awards from the App Store and Google Play across 5 different platforms. Working with top tier hardware brands, Algoriddim has made DJing accessible to millions of users around the globe. djay Pro for iPad opens a new chapter for professional DJs and VJs as the first solution to truly leverage the capabilities of iPad Pro and to be fully accessible to the visually impaired.
Technology allows DJing to be way more inclusive that it used to be. And I’m sure that companies will work out ways to let people with all manner of challenging circumstances be able to rock a party. I’ll certainly be throwing my weight behind helping algoriddim do this. Good work guys — bloody good work.