Freerange Future’s BigSmall win at SXSW

Freerange Future is a design-based studio in Adelaide. Their site Big Stories, Small Towns recently won Best Community Site at SXSW. It’s been described as one of the best online documentary projects in the world. AWIA’s Bret Treasure spoke to Managing Director Nick Crowther.

Why do you enter awards?
We enter them for pride and recognition. It’s about giving the team recognition for their hard work and letting them benchmark themselves against everyone else in the industry. And in terms of the awards night, it’s an excuse to suit-up or frock-up and have a big night.

There’s a noticeable short-term effect on staff morale after a win, and I’m not talking about the hangovers!

Business-wise; yeah, we use it to help tell clients our story. We get a protracted trickle through of referrals from the award sites. It does result in new business. And we get congratulations from people months after we’ve actually won, so it obviously sticks in people’s memories.

What’s your strategy for entering awards?
We don’t really have one except that we enter selectively. This year we’ve only really entered the one site, Big Stories, but it fits into different categories in different awards; it was a finalist in Best Use of Video in the AIMIA awards, was nominated for Best Overall Visual Design in the Australian Web Awards and won Best Community Site at SXSW. So you need to work out what category is best fit.

The different awards are clearly looking for different things. Getting nominated for an Australian Web Award always says something about your build quality and your technical proficiency.

You won an international award at your first try…
Hey, we’re from Adelaide; we were pretty damn excited. I went over with one of the filmmakers to SXSW and that event was a knock out. 30,000 people across 15 different venues and it ran for 5 days. Not everything was brilliant but some of the presentations were mind-blowing and they’ll influence how we approach things for years. 

The awards night was the last night; big black tie affair and a lot of buzz in the room. We had a small cheer squad. The ABC and SBS had people there; they’d been nominated in other categories. It got underway and about five minutes before they got to our section it occurred to think about a speech, just on the off chance that we might actually win! So we won and I’m not exactly sure what I said in the speech; it took a day or more to sink in.

Any advice for others in the industry?
In terms of awards, fifty or a hundred bucks to enter; it’s a no-brainer if you’re doing good work.  Get in the habit. In terms of what it’s done for us, the exposure will help us partner with other filmmakers around the world, will help us raise funding… You never know what’ll happen if you enter these awards.

Something about Freerange Future’s M.O.?
We’re not interested in the cookie-cutter approach. We do some work with Word Press when it suits the project but where we need the flexibility for say web app integration or a complex front end we use our own custom CMS.

Stop Press: The day we posted this story Freerange also took off the Award for Innovation in Digital Media at the SA Screen Awards. Yay!

We’re Back for 2012

After all the hussle and bussle from the end of the 2011 Awards season, the team here at the Web Awards is raring to get going for 2012. The 2012 Awards season nominations will open in June and close in July 2012.

The Awards Team and Scheme have gone through a few changes. Gary Barber is no longer with us, as he has decided to move on after putting a couple of super dedicated years into the Awards. His work has helped move the Awards on as a National Award Scheme as well as provide other perspectives on judging criteria and validation. We wish him all the best for his future endeavours.

Whilst thanking people, we would also like to thank the judges from 2011 for their incredible work, support and feedback to improve the awards.

There have been some other changes to the team so here is the Awards Team for 2012:

  • Helen Burgess - Chairperson
  • Bret Treasure - for sponsorship, marketing & PR and is joined by Chris Stoyles
  • Junior Judging Wranglers - Judd Exley and Chris Stoyles  who will be learning the ropes of the judging side of the Awards from Helen Burgess
  • Brendan Underwood - our website administrator, who will also be ably assisted by Judd Exley as needed
  • Our friends at Partner & Prosper - Krystie and Jan, who keep us on track and make sure our events are spectacular

Now on with the 2012 Australian Web Awards Season...  the award categories will be staying the same this year with some slight tweaks along with some awesomesauce surprises - we cannot let you know just yet what they will be. To find out about the surprises either subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Twitter or Facebook or just remember to visit us from time to time.

Melbourne a Change of Plans

We’ve got to be honest here, we’ve had to make some hard decisions over the last few days.

Due to less sponsorship and attendance than we’d allowed for, we’ve had to change the format of the National Awards Ceremony.

Instead of a meal in a sit down environment, we’ve managed to save the event from being cancelled by changing it to a cocktail function, with three and a half hours of free-flowing drinks, beautiful canapés and great opportunities to network, as well as the excitement of finding out who will win the national categories of the Australian Web Awards.

To sweeten the deal even more for those of you who have already bought your tickets, we’re encouraging you to now bring a colleague or partner. That’s right, your tickets are now valid for two people
instead of one, providing you with even more incentive to get a group and come along.

We apologise for the last minute change. For a number of unforseen reasons, we’ve literally had to make the decision to change the format or cancel the event entirely – we’re positive you’ll agree that this new format will encourage better networking, better opportunities for celebration and a fantastic atmosphere to reveal who are the stars of the Australian web.

We look forward to seeing you (and your guest) next Saturday night.

Tickets can still be purchased.

Let’s make this a night for all of us to remember!


Miles Burke
National Chairperson
Australian Web Industry Association

Onwards to Melbourne.


Now that the winners from the Eastern and Western regions have been announced, it's onwards to the National Awards in Melbourne.

On 12th November in Melbourne among the glitz and the glamour of the web industries best we will announce the following at a National level:

  • Personal
  • Ecommerce
  • Commercial
  • Government
  • Education
  • Culture & Events
  • Not for Profit
  • Innovation
  • Mobile App


But wait there are more awards!

Yes we are going to award sites that have a perfect aspect of the design process, such as:

  • Best HTML / CSS
  • Best Visual Design
  • Best Accessibility
  • Best User Experience

This is an ideal networking opportunity and a night to remember.  How often do you get the Directors of the best web design agencies, from around Australia in one place?

Tickets are available now, but don’t wait, as this event is expected to sell out.

Congratulations Western Region - Onwards to Sydney

Well the first segment of the Australian Web Awards is now over and the resulting hangovers nursed. 

Congratulations to all the winners.  It was an amazing evening, and good to see so many of the talented folks from the western region at the sold out Perth event.

It was a very close contest on all accounts, with just percentage points separating the top sites in each category.

The winners of the Western Region are now available for the following categories: 

  • Commercial
  • Ecommerce
  • Government
  • Not For Profit
  • Innovation
  • Culture & Events

Awards for the Eastern Region.

Next up is the Eastern Regional Awards to be held in Sydney.   This event has already sold out.  

At the Sydney event the following categories will be awarded:

  • Commercial
  • Ecommerce
  • Government
  • Not For Profit
  • Innovation
  • Culture & Events

The finalists for these categories are available now as well. 



Time to Announce the Winners

Well all the judges have poked and prodded this years entries of the Australian Web Awards.  They have tabulated the final results, cross check them, and declared them completed.

The judging committee has acknowledged the scores and concurs with the results. We can let you know that it was close, very close this year.  With some categories being decided by just a few points.  Who the winners are, well you’ll have to come to the awards ceremonies.

Now with all the hard work done, it’s time to celebrate this amazing show of Australian Web Industry talent.  

And what better way, than to award the regional and national Australian Web Awards via a series of gala events around the country over the coming weeks.

So dust of your best frock or jacket and glam it up geek style for star-studded award ceremonies in Perth, Sydney and culminating in a gala dinner in Melbourne.

Places are limited at all Award Events, please register now to avoid disappointment.


When: Wed, 5 October 2011
Where: Etro Bar, Perth
Cost:  FREE
Awarding: West Coast Regional Awards.


When: 12 October 2011
Where: City Hotel, Sydney
Cost: FREE
Awarding: East Coast Regional Awards.


When: Sat, 12 November 2011
Where: Scienceworks Museum, Pumping Station, Melbourne
Awarding: National and Special Category Awards.
Tickets on Sale

You will note the Perth and Sydney events are FREE, so really you have no excuse now not to come along and celebrate with the best of the best.

Countdown to Entries Closing - a few hints

Not long to go now.  If you haven't entered yet,  you should be really getting those entries ready for submission by now. 

We have found in the past it’s a good idea to register and get yourself all setup first.  Then take your time to compile your entry information and work out the right category, saving the entry as you go. 

Finally paying and submiting when everything is perfect.

Now we have had a few issues with our payment gateway issues over the last week.  Sorry about that. 

We have cleared out all the nasty code and fixed it all.  So it should be working well now.

Also just to help you along a little we have put together some helpful hints and the like, these are secret, so don’t tell anyone. Okay.

Entry Questions

Here's an outline of what you're asked on the entry form (for all categories except innovation and social media)...

  • Description of project aims and target audience
  • Client and agency contact details
  • Any special technical features
  • What were the usability considerations
  • Implementation challenges
  • Who did the content (client/agency)
  • Screenshots of site (Maximum - 1280 pixels wide and 1600 pixels high, less than 1.5MB. JPG, GIF or PNGs)
  • Screencast /video (optional)

Australian Web Awards 2011 is Now Open

The Australian Web Awards is now open for submissions from any Australian produced website (or mobile app) that was launched or has undergone significant change in the 2010/2011 financial year. That’s from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011.

Entries close Wednesday 13 July 2011  Friday 29th July 2011.

It’s really easy to enter all you have to do is select the category appropriate to your submission:

  • Mobile App
  • Commercial
  • Personal (no commercial content)
  • Ecommerce
  • Government
  • Education
  • Not For Profit
  • Innovation
  • Culture & Events

And give us a few details about the submission.

It’s just $55 per entry, however this year you can only enter once per category.  

The Australian Web Awards is the only extensive, peer judged, national awards focusing on the web industry, promoting and awarding the use of industry recognized best practices.

So get cracking and get those entries in, remember we are closing on Wednesday 13 July 2011  Friday 29th July 2011..

2011 Australian Web Awards Opening Soon

Yes we are back - the Australian Web Awards is on again for 2011. 

The Australian Web Awards is the only extensive national awards focusing on the web industry, promoting and awarding the use of industry recognized best practices.  

This is our third year as a truly national competition.  We are very excited with the thought of the talent that will be uncover this year.

As such we have listened to your suggestions, complaints, and ideas.   We took them all in, analysed them, mulled them over, and made some changes,  this year a few things are going to be a little different.  

Overall the changes are going to make the competition fairer for people following best practice.  Still in general terms the Australian Web Awards will retain its high standard, even more so than the previous years. 

Remember to win an Australian Web Award really does mean that you have achieved a real milestone in industry recognition. 


 This year the Categories are:

  • Mobile App
  • Commercial
  • Personal (no commercial content)
  • Ecommerce
  • Government
  • Education
  • Not For Profit
  • Innovation
  • Culture & Events

How to Enter 

When: Enter online from Wednesday 15 June to Wednesday 13 July 2011.

Cost: $55 per entry.

Criteria and Notes: 

  • Entry must be a product of the entrant for the state in which their Head Office resides.
  • Limitation of one category submission per entry

Information required for entry: 

  • Entry Name
  • Site URL
  • Client Name
  • Client Contact
  • Description of the entry
  • Purpose
  • Audience
  • Business and audience objectives
  • Special technical features
  • Special usability considerations
  • Challenges encountered
  • Accessibility compliance level
  • Screen grabs of the entry
  • Screen cast  (optional)
  • Name of certificate
  • Content is updated by?
  • Project team
  • Finalists will be asked to submit 2 minute video on their entry 

How do you win.

 As nearly all  our previous winners will tell you, winning is about building it right in the first place.  But it does help if you :   

  1. Enter
  2. Pass Validation (with exceptions)
  3. Pass Site Performance tests
  4. Allowing for multiple platforms
  5. Pass initial Accessibility testing
  6. Have a great site in these areas:
  • Development
  • Visual Design
  • Accessibility
  • Content
  • User Experience
  • Credibility   

See it's easy... 

We expect the Australian Web Awards enteries this year to be of a high standard. Your entries will be poked, prodded and put under the microscope by your judging peers.  The judges will be brutal, they will be tough, there will be no bias, and still they will be fair. 

If your entry shines out as being above the rest, then you have a chance of winning.  

This time it’s state against state, small firms and freelancers verse the big end of town.  

Who will win?  It's anyone’s guess.