Continuing with the interviews. This time Gary Barber, the Judging Coordinator chats with the Australian Web Awards Judge - Duncan Riley, about his previous experiences judging and what he believes makes an award winning site.
Web Awards: The Australian Web Awards attracts web sites from all over the country, sites designed and developed by large design agencies, government departments to single person shops.
You have judged a number of these web awards, what do you think is the magical winning factor?
Duncan: Primarily the ability to stand out and be different.
Imitation is easy, but innovation isn't. That can be innovation in design, content, or product idea. A winning web site or service stands out from the crowd.
Web Awards: This year brings a good deal of new web technology. What innovative types of sites are you expecting to see in this years range of entrants. Do you think the newer web technologies with feature?
Duncan: Social has come to the fore in the last couple of years, and finally Australian sites are catching up. I'd expect to see strong integration of social media features in general entries, and in some categories sites that seek to extend or offer new twists on what we see coming out of the United States.
Web Awards: Finally what elements of a web site can really turn you off the site and spoil the overall experience for you.
Duncan: Although it's not everything, visuals and design can and will cause a negative reaction, even when the idea behind the site is a good one. That doesn't necessarily mean bad visual design either; sometimes a design can looking visually stunning but doesn't work from a consumer/ end user perspective. There's a line there that needs to be balanced.
The judging procedures of most industry awards always seem to be veiled in mystery. Well at the Australia Web Awards we aim to be as open as we possibly can.
The first step in the judging process is the validation for HTML and CSS for all the sites submitted this is done by the Judging Sub-Committee. It is a semi-automated process.
The entries that pass the validation process with NO ERROR and 2 WARNINGS or less are then assigned to Judges.
Assigning the Judges
The judges are selected by opposing state and their ability to judge the various categories. Any localised bias is removed by not having judges of a particular state judge for that regional block. This is made easier when you have a number of international judges, as we do this year.
The judges are asked to look over the list of sites they have been assigned and declare if they’re in a conflict of interest. You may think this doesn’t happen, but it does. Let’s be honest here we are a small industry, the people at the top of their game tend to work together all the time. Hence conflicts of interest are bound to occur.
When there is a conflict of interest, we simply reassign the judge to another category. We have found over the years that the judges tend to work professionally in silos of site types, so avoiding the conflict is usually very easy.
After the judges are all settled into their categories they get to know who the other judges are, but that is it. Any official correspondence between them occurs with the knowledge of the judging sub-committee.
Judges are reminded that it's not public knowledge which category they are judging until the finalists are announced. Again this stops any incentives or the like.
The Judging Process
When a judge is scoring a category of web sites, they have no idea what scores the other judges are giving. This allows total independence, and no collaborative bias.
Judges this year will be encouraged to write a short comment about the site that may assist you if you’re not successful. Please note no correspondence will be entered into over these comments, this is purely a service to better the already high standard of the Australian Web Industry.
At the end of the judging process only the judging sub-committee knows the outcome and the regional finalists and the national finalists.
From the national finalists the overall winner is selected. If there is no clear overall winner then the judges are brought back to discuss the top finalists and the clear winner of the Most Outstanding site.
As you can see the process is very regimented and strict. With no collusion, and minimal bias. At no stage does anyone sit around a table drinking a few beers trying to decide which one of their mates will win a awards.
The Australia Web Awards are won through hard work, blood, sweat and tears, oh and talent too!
Entering the Australian Web Awards isn't really that hard.
Gary Barber, the Judging Coordinator for the Australia Web Awards has been busy chatting with some of last years winners on what it takes to win an Australian Web Award and the benefits that can flow on from that. The first informal chat is with Patima Tantiprasut from Bam Creative, who won last years Sell to People Category, aimed at non ecommerce sites with a primary non corporate audience.
Web Awards: It can be a little overwhelming entering the Australian Web Awards for the first time. Given the awards nature and reputation of being tough and focused on industry best practice, web standards; plus being judged by practising web industry peers. Taking all this into account what advice would you give to any first time entrants?
Patima: I'd say to anyone thinking of entering the AWAs, go for it! A big part of it is having the confidence in the work you submit and being proud to showcase it. Yes, of course the awards are tough and the criteria strict, however if you're passionate about it and love crafting awesome websites, you'll want to be creating work that is going to (at least) meet that criteria anyway.
Web Awards: As a previous award winner (for Selling to People), what benefits has entering and winning the web awards brought to your business?
Patima: Sure it's great to say that we've won awards, but it's more than that, we see the benefit straight away in the quality of work that we produce. We're constantly challenging ourselves and each other to adhere to best practice while at the same time trying to push the boundaries and approaches where we can. Throughout the year, we often look at our finished work and suggest that we should enter it in the awards.
Web Awards: Finally what styles and types of web sites are you expecting to see entered into the Australian Web Awards this year?
Patima: Like every year, we're expecting the criteria to be even more strict and quality of the websites submitted to therefore be even more awesome. That's the beauty of it though; raising the bar higher can only mean that the things we see out there are going to be more inspiring. We're proud of the Australian web industry and the great work it creates. To us, while AWAs is a prestigious award and a fantastic event, it's also a chance to showcase the work that both we and our clients are proud of.
Web Awards: Thanks Patima and good luck with this years awards.
Time is running out to enter the 2010 Australian Web Awards.
Entries closed at midnight (WST) on 8 July 2010, so get organised, the registration form and everything else can be found at webawards.com.au.
If you have not yet entered, this is your chance to be recognised as having the best Website in your category for your state! And with 13 categories for you to enter so you're sure to find the right one to meet your site's purpose.
Remember that you can register to enter your site now, set up the category you would like to enter and complete the rest of the information by the closing date. That means you can show your intent to enter and can save your work along the way. You don’t even need to worry about payment right now, you will be notified for payment in due course.
Imagine the look on your CEO's and your clients' faces when you tell them your online work has earned a prestigious Web Award! Think of the marketing opportunities you could create - but you need to enter to win!
*A Website says "you're here". An Australian Web Award winning Website says "You've arrived" *
With only two weeks left, now is the time to go to the online entry form and get the recognition you deserve.
Judging Panel close to finalisation
Helen and the Judging committee have been hard at work sourcing judges to evaluate the hundreds of entries that will come in.
With entrants from all states of Australia, the job of judging is going to be bigger and more difficult than ever.
Check out who is currently on the Judging Panel, and something new for this is that for those sites that make it through the validation process will be given feedback from the judges.
Keep in touch with the latest on the Web Awards
One of the best ways to stay in touch with the Australian Web Awards is through Facebook. It is amazing how many award winners each year tell me they never got the winners announcement email! If you are on Facebook, please Become a Fan of the Australian Web Awards and join our Facebook Group.
If Twitter is your thing, you can follow us at @AusWebAwards.
Or if you like to read RSS feeds you can read ours too.
After a well earned break the Australian Web Awards committee is back at it again. Yep that's right the Web Awards are on again. The following dates should be kept in your diary.
- Nominations open: 7 June 2010
- Nominations close: 12 midnight (Western Australian Standard Time) 8 July 2010
The categories are as follows:
- Virtual – for small and micro businesses without a “real” shopfront
- Online Retail – online transactional site (payment methods varied) B2C, C2C (with shopfront)
- Enterprise - for non transactional services for commercial use B2B, B2G, G2B
- Selling to People - for non transactional services focusing on the general public (non commercial) sector, typically catalogue and brochure sites
- Government – local, state & federal
- Arts & Events
- Not for Profit
- Mobile – for sites seen in mobile device
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