Local resident shows she is HomeWise

Annabela Bekker, Cynthia Augustine, Western Cape MEC for human settlements Tertius Simmers and Anesu Malisa.
Annabela Bekker, Cynthia Augustine, Western Cape MEC for human settlements Tertius Simmers and Anesu Malisa.

Constantia resident Annabela Bekker (23) has been named as the first runner-up in the department of human settlements: Western Cape’s HomeWise Youth Competition. The competition, launched in July, asked young people between the ages of 16 and 35 to design the mock-ups, prototypes or wireframes of an app which would allow citizens to easily access information on government housing assistance. Entries closed on 30 August.

Western Cape MEC for human settlements Tertius Simmers says he is a firm believer in using technology optimally.

“As we believe in inclusive governance, we extended an opportunity to the youth of this province, through a competition, to assist us with the development of this app,” says Simmers.

Entrants were asked to design the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). Of the many online entries received 20 met all of the criteria. After an evaluation process, three entrants were shortlisted. Anesu Malisa from Bellville was the first prize winner, Bekker, the first runner-up and Cynthia Augustine from Pinelands was named the second runner-up. Malisa won an Apple MacBook and a wireless mouse. Bekker and Augustine each got a R5 000 cash voucher.

Aspects of the designs will be incorporated into the final development of the department’s app. It hopes to have a trial version available by the end of the year, with a full launch in April 2020.

Bekker, a University of Cape Town Interactive Media graduate, says the competition’s social media marketing advert just kept on popping up in her feed.

She says the opportunity to have a hand in creating something that would be used by everyone in the Western Cape was just too exciting to pass up. “It was so cool of the City of Cape Town to get communities involved in the planning process,” she says.

Reflecting on her proposal, Bekker says, because of the large amount of information and diverse users, she wanted to make the app as accessible and functional as possible.

“I looked at how to do this using large buttons and text, icons for visual comprehension, text to speech functionality and a colour-coded hierarchical system so that people know where they are in the app,” she says. Simmers congratulates the winner and runner-ups for applying innovative thinking. “I’d also like to express my sincere gratitude to all young people who took the time to enter our competition. As a department, we’ve been able to engage with some of the best and pioneering young techies in this province,” he says.

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