This app is designed specifically as ‘help for women with disability’, however Sunny also helps women with and without disability to recognise, respond and get help if they are experiencing violence and abuse.
What We Like
Sunny is a popular app often recommended by frontline workers.
Sunny is the only app on the Australian market specifically geared towards serving women with a disability.
The app offers a 24/7 confidential support service.
The splash page provides a smokescreen by presenting it as an alarm, (showing the date and time of sunrise and first light). There is nothing else to indicate the app is designed to support domestic violence victims.
Sunny has been co-designed with Women with Disabilities Australia contributing to their Expert Advisory Group.
Sunny is compliant to level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 and is easy to navigate.
Sunny offers a helpful ‘How to use Sunny safely’ page where the instructions offered are clear and concise.
Complex topics are explained in a straightforward manner ensuring they are easy for the user to comprehend.
A screen reader can be used to access Sunny on both iOS and Android devices.
The app text is clearly legible and can be further enlarged or made smaller by using the accessibility settings on a device.
The app employs a conversational text format and commonly used emojis to guide the user through its features.
The app provides relevant resource links to 1800 RESPECT, the emergency ‘000’ number, the National Relay Service and the Translation & Interpretation Service.
The resources list is concise and not overwhelming.
The app asks users to consider their actions when they engage with each feature, provides links to support services at each step of the way and requests consent prior to displaying further information.
The ‘Read stories’ and ‘Tell your story’ features where a user can explore four different character scenarios detailing personal experiences of violence, and/or be guided by a special keyboard to help relay their own experiences with violence, are effective tools in engaging and educating users.
Personal experiences of violence captured using the ‘Tell your story’ feature are not saved and cannot be shared by the app. Depending on the inputs from the user, this feature recommends suitable services and provides contact details for each of these only. Keeping the story details private and allowing the user to choose whether or not to contact a service provides a sense of security and ownership.
As a safety precaution a user’s ‘Tell your story’ inputs are completely deleted after 5 minutes of no activity.
Sunny recognises that reading or sharing ‘stories’ could be triggering for some users and requests the user’s permission to proceed further while providing quick exit options.
The app’s ‘Hide’ and ‘Get Help’ buttons are visible on every page.
App interactions in response to user inputs are always positive and encouraging.
Sunny is relatable and has a lovely ‘personality’ from a user’s perspective.
The Sunny Development Team is passionate about their product and in providing positive benefit for their app users, and actively listens and works towards addressing any concerns that are raised in a timely manner.
Safety and Privacy Considerations and Tips
The app works on newer devices only, requiring iOS version of 10.0 or later, and Android 6.0 and up. As there are many earlier device versions still in circulation, and these are used frequently by those in vulnerable situations, the Sunny Development Team have added this to their ‘To Do’ list.
Sunny can currently only be used in portrait screen, however 1800RESPECT explains this in the ‘about this app’ section.
The app is not password/passcode protected and has no locking feature. In response, the Sunny Development Team stated that during the initial design phase the Expert Advisory Group were adamant that no passcode be used to secure the app, deeming it too difficult for some users with a disability to navigate. To date, alternative authentication methods haven’t been considered.
Safety prompts do not alert users to the possible danger in clicking on external links and phone numbers, however, implementation of these are confirmed to already be on Sunny’s ‘To Do’ list.
Voice commands didn’t always work consistently across Android and iOS devices, and the Sunny Development Team confirmed that at the time of build the app was designed for iOS only.
Sunny is delivered in English only, however looking ahead Sunny hopes to secure more funding to expand on inclusion services such as this.