Even though 2021 had its ups and downs, it has been a year full of positives for the Be My Eyes Community. From new Specialized Help partners to awards and a brand new podcast, here are the highlights for 2021.
In 2021 we added many new partners to our Specialized Help section of the Be My Eyes app along with a new category: Careers. With many people finding themselves searching for new careers, we found it especially important to support people with a disability in finding their next opportunity. With new partners Linkedin, Inclusively and Jobs for Humanity, the Be My Eyes app now connects you with experts to help find your next job.
It wasn’t just in the Career category that we saw new Specialized Help partners. We were delighted to welcome two market leaders in their respective fields to the Be My Eyes Community; drugstore chain Rite Aid and pasta manufacturer Barilla. Both companies are now offering accessible customer support through Be My Eyes Specialized Help.
2021 was another tough year for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With at-home tests becoming more and more popular, people who are blind or have low vision were looking for an accessible way to take their home tests. We were proud to partner with the UK Department of Health and Social Care to help visually impaired people in the UK get guidance on taking their at-home COVID tests. Our existing partner, Accessible Pharmacy, also started offering guidance with home testing through Be My Eyes for users in the US.
In 2021 we had a new addition to our podcast family. Say My Meme is a podcast all about, you guessed it, memes! You can’t deny that memes have become an important part of popular culture and online communities and conversations. But what do you do if you can’t see the meme but still want to take part in the conversation? You tune in to Say My Meme of course! Will Butler from Be My Eyes gets the best memes on the internet described by Scribely’s CEO and Founder Caroline Desrosiers. Scribely specializes in making alt texts and descriptions for images, so Caroline is a literal pro at making visual descriptions, and she helps Will and the listeners understand the wide variety of memes that can be found on the internet in a fun and engaging way. So whether you’re visually impaired and want to get a better understanding of memes, or you’re sighted and just love memes, Say My Meme is the podcast for you. Tune in on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and iHeartRadio.
To celebrate blindness awareness month in October, we were delighted to collaborate with Twenty Thousand Hertz Podcast on a three episode series about blindness. Take a deep dive into audio descriptions, sports for the blind and accessible gaming with the podcast that explores and reveals the stories behind the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds. You can listen to Twenty Thousand Hertz on your preferred podcast streaming service.
2021 was a busy year for us, and we’re humbled to be recognized for our work with several prestigious awards. This year we were thrilled to receive an Apple Design Award, a Webby People’s Choice Award, and an AccessAbility Award given by the Helen Keller services. We’re extremely proud and thankful for every single one of them, and we couldn’t have done it without your help!
We also partnered with the American Council of the Blind to put on the first annual Audio Description Awards Gala, a virtual event which will return again next year in person to honor the individuals and companies who have made the greatest impact on bringing audio description to the masses. In other event news, we also hosted Sight Tech Global, an annual fundraiser for the Vista Center for the Blind in Silicon Valley – which put some of the most exciting new tech for people with low vision in the spotlight. You can watch the whole conference at SightTechGlobal.com.
The Be My Eyes Community experienced another year of huge growth. This year we turned the corner of some amazing community milestones: 5 million volunteers and 350,000 blind and low-vision users. Thanks to each and every one of you for making the Be My Eyes Community the welcoming and inclusive place that it is!
This year, we were also able to add several local Specialized Help partners to the Be My Eyes app, such as LCSAT in South Africa, NKL in Finland, Visibility Scotland, and AbilityNet in the UK. Find the Specialized Help section in the Be My Eyes app to see what Specialized Help partners are available in your area.
Some big news from this year that might have passed by many people’s noses is that Be My Eyes is now integrated into the Genesys customer support solution. This means that companies that are using Genesys can more easily plug Be My Eyes into their customer support solution to help their blind and low-vision customers. We’re so thrilled to see how this integration will affect the future of customer support.
Listen to our recent appearance on the Genesys podcast to hear all about why and how we are working with this leading contact center software to give consumers everywhere a better support experience!
Last but not least, we finally joined TikTok! Follow us on @bemyeyesapp to see what we’re up to! We are brand new, and Be My Eyes spreads because of your stories, so if you’re on TikTok, please help us by telling your Be My Eyes story and tagging us to help let the world know!
Whether you have been with us for years, or you have just become part of the Be My Eyes Community in 2021 we’re so happy to have spent the year with you. We can’t wait to find out what 2022 has in store for us, but one thing we do know is that we will work hard to make Be My Eyes an even more useful tool for you! From everyone at the Be My Eyes team, we wish you a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!