Every year, Apple announces the winners of its App Store Awards. In 2023, it recognized 14 titles across five platforms: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. These titles are not only considered the “best” from a design standpoint, but they have also positively contributed to the world in some way.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting the teams behind three of these award-winning apps. At first glance, AllTrails, Pret-A-Makeup, and Pok Pok may seem quite different, but as I discovered, they all have at least one thing in common: inclusivity. Each also looks gorgeous on the iPhone 15, iPad Air, and other Apple devices.
Inclusivity isn’t just a buzzword for these apps – it’s a core value reflected in every aspect of their design and development. From the user interface to the content and features, these apps are designed to be accessible and welcoming to everyone. And that’s what sets them apart from the countless other apps competing for our attention in the crowded app market.
AllTrails, iPhone App of the Year
At first glance AllTrails may seem like just another fitness app, but it has evolved into much more than that. Initially a website for hikers to share trails, it is now a mobile app used by more than 60 million people in 191 countries. In the past year, the number of users has doubled, and more than 420,000 trails are now available on the app – even in Antarctica.
The team behind AllTrails believes that everyone can benefit from being outside. Thus, the app includes trails for users of all backgrounds and skill levels, making it accessible to anyone.
According to CEO Ron Schneiderman and CPO Evan Selin, AllTrails isn’t just a fitness app — it’s an app that focuses on overall health and community.
Recently, the app has added some exciting new features including 3D immersive video trail previews to give users a better understanding of the route, terrain and elevation. The app now also offers advanced real-time conditions, including temperature, mosquito index, and forecasted conditions based on recent and historical weather data. There are also more than 200 national park guides available in eight countries.
This year, statistics and achievements have also been added to the app so users can celebrate their time outdoors. And iOS Live Activity functionality is coming soon.
According to Schneiderman, AllTrails’ recent success can be attributed to the end of the pandemic, which left people feeling isolated. In such a situation, people are now going out more to explore the world around them. Selin says the App Store award is confirmation that the iPhone maker recognizes the importance of AllTrail’s mission.
Selin explained to Apple: “AllTrails is honored to receive this recognition. It’s a testament to our commitment to designing innovative products that help people connect with the outdoors. We are excited to be able to positively impact people’s lives and look forward to bringing even more joyful experiences to our community in 2024.
Pret-A-Makeup, iPad App of the Year
Just to be clear, using Pret-A-Makeup, the iPad app of the year, will not improve your health. However, if you are a makeup artist or aspire to become one, this app can be an excellent tool for creating realistic makeup looks. The app encourages inclusivity and self-expression, making it a unique and valuable addition to the beauty industry.
Pret-a-Makeup is an innovative makeup app designed for iPad or iPhone users. Developed by a team of 13 professionals based in Brazil, it allows makeup artists to test, plan or register a look without the need for actual makeup. With over 700 beauty products and 40 face templates available in 40 styles, the app offers users a wide range of options.
During my meeting with the Pret-A-Makeup team, I wondered if the app offered a realistic experience. Although I’m no makeup expert, spending time in Sephora and Ulta with my teenage daughter has taught me that makeup is designed for people of different backgrounds. Surprisingly, the app offers a realistic experience, which impressed me.
To start each makeup session, users can choose a model from a digital sketchbook, which includes sketches of people from different ethnic backgrounds. The app’s library offers more variety, making it a popular choice among users. The app is available in 12 different languages and has been downloaded more than 5 million times in 170 countries.
Each brush stroke reacts to light movement and facial shape as you move, providing a true sketching experience using your finger, stylus pen or Apple Pencil. The Ring Light feature is the most exciting feature I’ve seen on an app in recent years.
Looking ahead to 2024, co-founder and illustrator Roberta Weyand has revealed that a new UX is coming next year. We can’t wait to see how the new look will enhance the app in the coming months.
Pok Pok, Cultural Impact Winner
Pok Pok is a game available on iPhone and iPad that has been selected as one of five App Store Cultural Impact winners of the year. The game takes inspiration from a living room floor full of toys. It offers a digital playroom with various creative activities that encourage children to learn, explore and experiment through play.
The app currently includes 16 Montessori-inspired digital toys for preschoolers with diverse backgrounds and abilities. The game has no ads or rules and no language barriers, making it accessible to people all over the world.
According to Pok Pok’s co-founders, Melissa Cash and Esther Huybreghts, their app is suitable for children ages 2 to 7 and encourages out-of-the-box thinking. He believes that the app was selected for the App Design Award because it is different from other apps on the market. It also promotes inclusive representation to ensure that everyone feels included when playing.
One of the things that stood out to me after taking a brief look at the app is that all the sounds in the app are hand-recorded. This winter, Pok Pok is expected to get a significant winter update.
Other winners at the App Store Awards include Photomator (Mac App of the Year), MUBI (Apple TV App of the Year), and SmartGym (Apple Watch App of the Year). are among the winners of the game Honkai: Star Rail (iPhone Game of the Year), lost in the game (iPad Game of the Year), P’s lie (Mac Game of the Year), and hello kitty island adventure (Apple Arcade Game of the Year).
Additionally, four other winners were honored with the Culture Impact Award, including Proloco, Too Good to Go, Unpacking and Finding Hannah.