Web Awards that have Meaning


Australian Web Awards 2009

Over the years I have found that web awards tend to fall into three types:

  • The mindless handout of awards to favour colleagues.
  • Awards for the prettiest or most unusable but funky hip design.
  • An award that is a true test and representation of the best in the industry.

What I find that you are really  looking for is a web award competition that acts as a yard stick to measure your skills that is judged by your peers in the web industry, not advertising executives.

Something that congratulates the web designers and developers that are following web standards and producing sites that are accessible and inline with the latest in best practices.

That means something. It should be hard won, against the best that the Australia web industry has to offer.   With lots of meaningful categories that complement the sites you develop.

An award that will give you that recognition for all those late nights, un-billable hours and murderous deadlines.

You know it would be perfect if it was also a value asset that would promote you and your clients business as well.

Maybe I’m just dreaming.

…However this is what the Australian Web Awards, now in its 5 year of handing out awards, has been doing.

Now I have been involved with the Australian Web Awards committee now for two years. This is  a completely volunteer run event.  In a way it’s totally about giving back to the community.  It was amazing last year to see the high quality of the submissions to the Web Awards.   Also of interest was the outstanding effort  of entries that made it through the judging and vetting process to the finals.

Last year, I was expecting the East Coast to be dominate in the awards and produce an overall winner.  However it seems the East Coast doesn’t have what it takes, and the the West Coast was triumphant.

Which is a strange outcome given there where very few Western Australian judges.  I do wonder if the East Coast really does have  what it takes.

Nominations for the Australian Web Awards are open now, yes right now! They close on the 8 July 2010. No extensions.   I would be thinking about getting your entry in now.

The bottom line is if you think some of the web sites, produced over the last financial year are good enough to stand up with the best in Australia, then you should be entering the Australian Web Awards.

Do you have what it takes. I’m sure you do!

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  1. If these awards don’t fall under the first type I will eat my hat. You even admit that the expectation is for the judging to be rigged: “Which is a strange outcome given there where very few Western Australian judges.” To hear this from a judge only confirms my suspicions that this is rigged.

  2. @webawards – Do you suppose that people sit there judging and give bonus points to people they know personally.

    Or that we meet up and decide that “Fred can have the awards this year”. There is no discussion between the judges.

    I have often found that it can be the opposite if you know the entrant. You have a high expectation of your peers work. You expect them to produce the very best they can. Even minor errors or oversights, you would normally overlook seem like major flaws. Given that you do try and be fair. Still in a way it works against them.

    Would you prefer to see the judges being people not in the web industry or completely internationals. Do you think that would remove any bias. Tell me I’m very interested to know.

    You must remember the Web Industry is a small place, especially in Australia, the chance that the judges personally know the entrants and their work is very high.

    By the way, no Judge is very allowed to judge a category in which they have had even just a minor association with the site. The Australia Web Awards is very strictly against the “votes for mates factor”.

    Still I know the Australia Web Awards are very transparent about the process and are always open to constructive feedback.

  3. Hey Gary,

    Only just had a chance to read up on this and thought i would put my two cents in. My issue isn’t with whether or not the awards are rigged or not, i agree with you on this one, the chance that people know each other in the industry is incredibly high.

    The issue i have with the awards is that i don’t feel it awards people fairly. It doesn’t always award people for fantastic work they’ve produced in the last year. It doesn’t award people for the skill they have, the passion they have.

    A lot of people i have talked with have always mentioned that they have spent time before submitting a site in ‘cleaning the site up’, making it valid, making tweaks to the site to give it that edge. This is find unbelievable, the fact these these sites could be the ones winning an award is beyond me.

    Should the sites not be valid in the first place? Should they not be tweaked and ready for an award once they go live?

    Obviously this isn’t an issue that can be easily tackled by Judges, i understand that. I realise theres not an easy way to ween out the sites that are already valid, already at the top of their game, cream of the crop if you will. The amount of work to find these sites and judge them all in times for the awards would be huge, and as its a volunteer run event, this would be out the question.

    I just feel that the awards could potentially(not always) be given to sites that, although user friendly, visually stunning etc. don’t always show the industry in the best light.

    The real winners are the ones checking their sites, tweaking them for the client, making sure they’re valid before they go live. To me, theyre the real winners. They’re the people who are passionate about their work.

    Just wanted to have a little bit of a rant as I feel there is a lot of sites being submiited after being cleaned up, tweaked, made valid etc.

  4. I’m with you Karl, and while I agree that sites should launch valid and stay that way, I find clients often go on to insert invalid code. If entrants aren’t able to go back and tidy those things up, they’d be penalised for having validation errors through no fault of their own. This is however dependant on the CMS (if any) used though.

  5. Oh i understand that Levi, and thats described in the guidelines on the Web Award site. This is acceptable for areas that the client has control but i’m more concerned with the areas that aren’t controlled by the client.

    I still feel theres a lot of code thats being cleaned up by designers/developers before being submitted that could have potentially been done when the site was going live rather than waiting for the award submissions.

  6. Definitely Karl, unfortunately I think it’ll be near impossible for the judges to be able to discern between the client’s code and that of the developer.

    But I’m definitely with you, it should be done right the first time and valid code should be written to maximise compatibility not to win perspex trophies.

  7. @levi, @karl – don’t be so sure that the judges are all just going on the “pretty” look of the site, a good number of them look at the code and can tell client from developer code. You guys are limited to the smarts!

    Yes it would be wonderful if everyone had sites that validated when launched. It would also be great it they where all easy to use, not function overload and accessible by all.

    It would be also good if people didn’t have to nominate or others could nominate them.

    Still it is good that at least some of the web has cleaned up it’s act to enter the awards, that in its self is a small step forward.

    All suggestions on ways to improve things are very welcome.

  8. Maybe the awards are just a big scam to force lazy developers to clean up their code, and we’re just pawns in a much bigger game. 😛

  9. @levi – *looks around* – bugger! we have been sprung… 🙂

  10. Thats very true, if the awards are making people clean up their code its not a bad thing. Its just a shame that they have the potential of being given an award after doing so.

    We need something similar to performance enhancing drug tests that athletes take 😛 We don’t want validation enhancing tweaks!

    Would archive.org be a viable solution for some of these sites? I’m not sure how reliable it would be, but validating markup might be alright.

  11. archive.org won’t pick up the smaller sites (unless manually submitted), and it would be the responsibility of the developer to submit the site for indexing as soon as it goes live.

  12. Thats very true, i’ve never even thought about using archive.org for smaller sites 🙂

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