Sonja Bernhardt on what she’s expecting to see

Sonja BernhardtThis time Gary Barber sits down with judge  Sonja Bernhardt, a veteran of the IT industry with almost an addiction for judging. They chat about judging the Australian Web Awards, innovation and what is that magic award winning factor.

Web Awards: You have had a good deal of experience in the judging arena.  What do you think the winning factor is?

Sonja: A site that draws out a reaction from me - a site that makes me want to look further into it, draws me to play, click, search.  

A few years ago one entrant that instantly drew a reaction from me (and took me by surprise) was food related and I wanted to physically 'lick' the site as the colours and words used were very appealing - may sound weird I know BUT that may help explain the reaction.  Another classic example for me is if I find I start wanting to buy things from the site that is a strong indicator of magic at work!

So in summary a site that goes beyond stating fact and info to one that visually and emotionally draws me in.


Web Awards: There have been a lot of new technology released in the last year.  This will bring with it new innovations.  Are you expecting to see a flow on effect with this years entrants?

Sonja: I'm still waiting for the day when a hologram appears from the site and steps me through what I need,  but putting that aside... 

I guess with the advent of iPad that rules out a lot of flash animated sites.  

In the end regardless of the technology used be it animated 3D talking assistance, social media tools, enhanced graphics etc.  as long as the site engages the user and relates a clear consistent message it achieves it's purpose:-)


Web Awards: User experience is a very big deal these days, what elements of a web site can spoilt this experience for you?

Sonja: If it takes me longer than a few second to workout how to navigate that really turns me off.  If I do not grasp almost instantly what the site is about I loose rapid interest.  In todays world we are hit with a lot of visual and audio imagery - so a site that neatly and clearly sorts through that delivering a message with clarity is tops in my books (oops or should I say in my iPad):-)