The Process

Judging for the Australian Web Awards is done on a weighted points system. Each site is reviewed, assessed and judged by multiple judges.

The First Stage 

Sites are reviewed for evidence of the following: 

  • Markup
  • Site performance
  • Accessibility compliance as required for the category entry.

Entries that meet the recommended guidelines go through to the second stage

The Second Stage 

During the second stage, a panel of judges evaluate, the sites against the criteria for that category. Evaluation criteria typically include:

  • User Interface Design 
  • Content
  • User Experience
  • Development 
  • Accessibility (in greater detail)

There are different evaluation criteria and critieria weightings guide located next to each category for this year.

Evaluation scores are collated to produce the list of possible winners. Possible winners are then independently re-verified to ensure compliance with the requirements and specified testing guidelines for that category.

User Interface Design

  • Are the visuals appropriate for the target market? Do they project the image wanted by the client?
  • Do the visuals enhance what the site is trying to communicate?
  • Are the branding and styling consistent across the site and across different platforms, e.g. mobile, tablet?
  • Are there innovative visual elements or typography that don't adversely impact readability?
  • Does the website display consistently in widely-used web browsers? (Chrome, Safari, Explorer, Firefox)


  • Is the content well written and clear?
  • Is the tone appropriate for the website’s target market?
  • Is the content informative?
  • Is the content original or unusually engaging?
  • Is the website free of spelling or grammar errors, out-of-date or obviously inaccurate content?
  • Are appropriate policies included and easy to understand? (e.g. Customer Satisfaction Guarantee, Returns, Security, Privacy, Copyright)

User Experience Design

  • Is the content structured to help the target market find information easily (headings, navigability)?
  • Do pages load in good time? Is page performance optimised?
  • Is the content markup appropriate (not the code but headings, paragraphs etc)?
  • Is there a site map or search facilities where appropriate?
  • How is the user experience on different platforms?
  • Is there a smooth purchase experience? (If applicable)
  • Is the shopping catalogue easy to browse or search? (If applicable)
  • How easy is it to create an account for the website? (If applicable)
  • Is the checkout process uncomplicated and easy to use? (If applicable)
  • Does the website function as expected; does everything work?


  • Is your site valid? We recommend that you use Rocket Validator to check your site's validity against the HTML5 standard.
  • How well implemented are technologies like databases, shopping carts, forms, payment processes, widgets, search, mailing lists?
  • Has the development work required complex integration with legacy systems?
  • If JavaScript is implemented is it following best practice?
  • Do the web technologies deliver the intended functionality?
  • Are the technologies simple, logical and easy to use?
  • Do the various parts of the website download quickly?
  • Is the website architecture helpful to search engine indexing?
  • How innovative is the system or technology or interface? 
  • How good is online security?
  • Has there been constructive customisation?


The Australian Web Awards are using the Accessibility Checklist as the basis for our judging checklist. We recommend you use axe-core accessibility engine either by itself or through the Rocket Validator site-wide checker.


  • Does the website meet WCAG 2 Level A compliance? If not, what level?
  • Is the markup valid and semantic?
  • Is there a separation of content, presentation and behaviour layering?
  • Is there good use of Cascading Style Sheets and unobtrusive scripting?
  • Is the website viewable in different browsers and different platforms?


  • For Android 4 or later does the site perfom well using the 'Talkback' screen reader?
  • For iOS, does the site perform well using the 'Voiceover' screen reader and 'Explore by Touch'?

Social Media Growth category

  • Did the campaign have clear objectives and strategy?
  • How well structured was the campaign?
  • How well was the response to the campaign measured?
  • What results were achieved in awareness and engagement?
  • Was the campaign innovative?
  • If used, was there an effective cross-platform strategy?
  • If used, how did paid social media contribute to the campaign's success?
  • What impact did the social media activity have on actual business results, e.g. conversion rates, sales impact?
  • Were the objectives met? If exceeded, by how much?

SEO Effectiveness category

  • What were the campaign objectives and budget?
  • Who was the target audience and strategy?
  • Summarise the implementation and creative elements?
  • What were the results and final evaluation of the campaign?
  • Why do you think your campaign should win?