LiveWell 2020 Student App Challenge

LiveWell RERC is sponsoring its third annual app development competition for middle, high school, and college students as well as non-professional developers. Winning submissions will be selected to receive a cash award. To see past winners please visit – (2018) and (2019)

The LiveWell App Challenge is intended to promote awareness of the need for assistive and accessible technologies by fostering innovation through a fun, hands-on competition. Applicants are encouraged to submit mobile applications that address a need from one of LiveWell’s target areas, but apps from any area will be accepted. We are particularly interested in apps that can be used by people with disabilities and people who are aging.

LiveWell target areas include:

  • Health and function

  • Accessibility

  • Money management

  • Navigation

  • Home automation and control

  • Personal communication

  • Access to public announcements and notifications

General Timeframe:

Competition opens immediately. Register here:

Developer registration and identification of clinical collaborator or subject matter expert (SME) must be completed by April 1, 2020. If you would like assistance identifying a collaborator or SME you must contact us by March 21, 2020 at

Submissions are due via email to by May 1, 2020.

Announcement of the winning submissions: June 2020.

General Guidelines:

  1. Individuals or teams can participate. Developers will need to sign up for the competition here:

  2. Each submission needs to have a clinical collaborator or subject matter expert (SME) identified. We can help you identify an SME if needed, just email with your request.

  3. Each applicant will need to review information on accessible interface design and complete a short questionnaire (the questionnaire will be sent to the contact on the registration form).

  4. This competition is open to current middle, high school and college students or non-professional developers. If you are an organization or professional developer, consider submitting to the Assistive and Accessible Mobile Applications App Factory. Feel free to contact us if you are unsure if you qualify:

  5. Apps can be written in any language for any platform or device.

  6. All competition requirements will need to be met and apps with 1-page written summary and video will need to be submitted to by midnight, May 1, 2020 to qualify for the competition. See submission guidelines below.

  7. Apps will be evaluated by a panel of subject matter experts and the winners will be announced in June 2020.

The competition welcomes submissions from individuals residing in, or residents of the United States of America and Canada.

Review Criteria:
Apps will be evaluated against the following criteria (based on a 100-point maximum) from information provided in both the 1-page writeup and video submission:

  1. The app addresses an important accessibility or assistive technology need.

    • Clearly documented target population (20 points):You should clearly define the target end user population including functional limitations, ages and other pertinent demographic characteristics of intended users of the app or hardware. Apps targeted at underserved populations will receive priority. Underserved populations are defined with respect to access and effective use of consumer technology, such as those with motor/dexterity impairment, deaf-blind individuals (including those who are both hard of hearing and low-vision), and individuals with cognitive impairment.

    • Clearly documented clinical or accessibility need (15 points): Evaluation of importance of the app will be based on the degree of impact on that population (apps intended for use by a small population may be judged important if the impact is high).

    • Meaningful collaboration with recognized clinical or other subject matter expert/s (15 points): Developer has partnered with a clinical or other subject matter expert who can document expertise working with people who have the condition that the app proposes to address.

  2. The app has the potential to have a positive impact within the target population (15 points).

    • Your app does not have to be fully functional at the time of submission, but the more progress made on the app, the easier it will be for the judges to see its positive impact within each target population. If your app is fully functional at the time of submission, we will install it from the appropriate app store for testing, but a video detailing features and basic use of the app is required for all submissions (please see submission guidelines for more information).

  3. Specifically detail any accessibility considerations (15 points).

    • Your app should use the accessibility guidelines to have increased accessibility for a variety of populations, especially for the intended end user population. If you have not coded for accessible features at the time of submission, detail your accessibility plan in the writeup.

  4. Basic app purpose and use (15 points).

    • While the app does not need to be complete for submission, you should be able to explain how the app will work and show progress to date of the app. The video submission is a great place to show the judges how the app works. Supplemental information can be provided in your writeup.

  5. Conclusion (5 points)

    • Lessons Learned: Detail lessons learned from working with the population, learning about accessibility / programming, etc.

Submission Guidelines:
Failure to follow submission guidelines may result in an incomplete application.

  1. Follow review criteria for most competitive applications

  2. 1-page written description of application detailing information found in review criteria section

    • Population background information with references (see 1 under review criteria for more details)

    • Impact within proposed population

    • Accessibility considerations

    • Basic app purpose / use

    • Conclusion with lessons learned

  3. 1-3-minute video showing application being used with voice over detailing how the application works. Please note, because we are not requiring you to submit a complete application, feel free to submit a work in progress or a conceptual design. The best way to complete this portion of the project is by doing a screen capture of your app in action. You can find mobile applications that will easily allow you to do this. Search for Screen Recorder in your app store. Email with any questions or for suggested recorder applications.

  4. Submit written description and video to by midnight May 1st, 2020.

Intellectual Property:
This is your work and you can do with it what you want. You wrote it, you own it. LiveWell RERC will NOT make claims on any work submitted to the app competition. Applicants agree to have their submissions posted to the LiveWell RERC website.

About LiveWell:
Through a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Community Living, Health and Function (LiveWell RERC) seeks to enhance the use and usability of information and communication technologies (ICT) for people of all ages and abilities. The LiveWell RERC's mission is to promote ICT access to existing and emerging technologies for all people regardless of ability; and to develop and validate ICT applications to improve the capacity for independent living and community participation.