Award Categories

The categories for the Australian Web Awards 2016 are as follows:

A single site can be entered in up to two (2) categories. Each category requires a separate entry.

State awards will be given in NSW/ACT, Vic, Tas, Queensland, SA, NT and WA.

National finalists will be chosen from the winners from each state in each category.

In 2016  we will be introducing the Excellence in Criteria awards. These are the "Best in Show" awards, and will, be presented to the sites that demonstrate excellence in at least one of the five main criterion -

  • User Interface Design,
  • User Experience Design,
  • Content,
  • Development and
  • Accessibility.

The National finalists will be the winners from each state for each of the criteria stated.

The Most Outstanding site will receive the McFarlane Prize, the national prize for excellence that began in 2006 at Web Directions, named in honor of Nigel McFarlane.


This is for non-commercial sites – e.g. bloggers, photographers, hobbyists, artists, and musicians. Sites should contain NO commercial content.

If the site is commercial in intent part of a small business with a revenue greater than $5,000 per month from your site, it belongs in the Small Business category, not Personal.

Sites using stock template designs and off the shelf CMS implementations (e.g. Tumblr;, Blogger, Facebook) are perfectly acceptable and in such cases, we do not expect you to conform to accessibility guidelines. Although we would hope that the template makers are aware of accessibility and its importance

Principally, the Personal sites are judged on content, but if sites score equally on content, those sites that are well built or skillfully hand-coded will have the advantage.

Criteria Weighting


The Startup Category is open to new businesses that at as of July 1st this year, have been operating for less than two years

Criteria Weighting

Small Business

Small Business is open to any  business that has been trading for more than two years as of July 1st this year, and which turned over less than $2 million in the twelve months prior to July 1st. Businesses less than two years old can choose to enter this category or can enter the Startup category.

Criteria Weighting


This category is for websites whose primary purpose is to sell products or services online

Criteria Weighting


The Commerical caategory is suited to businesses that are more than two years old and are turning over more than $2 million p.a. .

If the principal focus is selling online from a catalogue of products using the website, it should be entered in eCommerce category, if the site is more focused on the branding, information or services, it belongs here. Some sites could fit either category, in which case choose the one you prefer.

Please note, individual sites can be entered into two (2) award categories.

Criteria Weighting


This category is for websites of government, government agencies or wholly government-funded programs.

Given the Australian Government's stated commitment to accessibility, government sites should aim to meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.

Criteria Weighting


The "Helen Burgess Education Award" is for educational institutions such as schools (private, public, primary and secondary), Registered Training Organisations and universities.

Typically, the sites would support the ongoing business of education and recruitment of prospective students, as well as supporting current students and staff.

Criteria Weighting

Not for Profit

Candidate sites can be Not-For-Profit organisations, non-government sites (NGOs) or industry associations. 

Criteria Weighting


This is a broad category designed to acknowledge innovation/experimentation in any aspect of web technology. This could be the concept of the site, original content or design, or an innovation in any technical aspect.

It could be on any platform; e.g. web, mobile, application, internet of things. Because we are looking at the boundaries of what is possible, WCAG 2.0 conformance is not a prerequisite, although minimum conformance should be part of outstanding practice where it can be applied

Criteria Weighting

Social Media

This category acknowledges business success and innovation in social media marketing.

Entrants are encouraged to provide real-world business metrics for assessment by the judges . Please note, any commercial information you provide will not be publicly disclosed without the entrant's prior written agreement.

Criteria Weighting

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