Your 2012 Web Awards Judges

The 2012 Australian Web Awards are finally closed, and we're tickled pink and all sorts of other colours to announce the folks that are going to be casting that ever-critical web-eye on all of the entrants, our illustrious judging panel.

2012 Australian Web Awards Judges

Even though we had some of our favourites turn us down because of other time commitments (having babies is a pretty good excuse) we've got some real crackers this year and we're extremely proud to boast such a quality lineup.

So go check 'em out, Google 'em (go on, it's fun) and then appreciate the hell out of them for volunteering to do such an important, sometimes tedious, and awesome task.

Once again, and at every opportunity really, I'd like to thank all of those that agreed to judge, have judged in the past, and even those that politely turned us down because they decided to procreate instead.

HUGE THANKS JUDGES, you are all rockin' rockstars of a most rocking variety.

Yes we are open to accept entries…

The Australian Web Awards were launched on 6 June to very little fanfare. Port80s in Perth and Melbourne advertised that we were now open for entries and a presentation was given in Perth by Helen Burgess to half a dozen interested persons on the whole judging process.

I will go through some of the information that was discussed that night as well as provide some guidance on entering the awards.


The Australian Web Awards is open to all organizations and individuals involved in designing, building,  Websites, and Mobile sites for business, consumer or general audiences in Australia.

Entries must have in general use for at least part of the current financial year, that is launched by 30 June 2012.

Entries should be entered under the state of the Head Office for the design / development company. For example: the Perth office did the work and the Head Office is in Melbourne then the entry would go under the state of  Victoria.

There is no limit to the number of entries that may be submitted by any design or development company, however you can only enter one website into one category with an option to enter into the mobile category.  

For example: your believe that your site should be both in the Commerical and E-commerce categories, you are only allowed to enter that site int one category Commerical or E-commerce, not both.

A completed online entry form and fee must accompany each entry.

All companies entering their chosen sites have until 12 midnight WST on 15 July 2012 to get their entry in by completing the online entry form and paying their entry fee. 

NOTE: Currently we have not activated our payment system as we are testing it before making available to you. Please be patient and take the time to fill out or edit your entry. We will notify entrants when the payment system is available.

Entries are accepted once we have confirmation of payment. The entries next step is Stage 1 of Judging - Validation  from 16 July 2012. Judging for the second stage commences when that has finished.

What category should I be in?

The committee often gets emails asking for help to determine which category the website entry should be put in. My advice is to go back to the purpose of the site. The site's purpose should provide you with the information that makes your decision easier as to what category it goes into.

For example: if the purpose of the site is inform the public about a product, provide help documentation and a contact point for the company then I would put the website into the Commerical category. On the other hand if the site was to sell the product along with all the aforementioned then I would put the site into the E-commerce category.

For those developers who would like to submit their native mobile application, (coded specifically for IOS or Android), you should enter the application into the Innovation Category. This category looks at the new and wonderful creations that exist in our tech world. 

There is no mobile category this year as the trend is for websites to be viewable on all platforms either through responsive design or mobile specific sites. We have made this a criteria for judging. If you would like your site to be judged for the" Best Overall Mobile Site" award  please select the mobile option on your entry. 

Unacceptable Material

Entries that contain pornographic material, propagate "hate" messages, make defamatory statements, or which are otherwise extraordinarily offensive are not eligible.


All entries into the Web Awards are to be provided as URLs entered into the online entry system. Entries must have been in general use for at least part of the last financial year, that is launched before 30m June 2012 . Any website that requires a login or user registration, is required to have an account made available to the judges for judging of the site in the second stage.


Mobile Website entries must be accessible via a mobile phone, PDA or other mobile device. The mobile criterion will be judged on a mobile device.

We hope that the above information helps with your entry into the awards. 

Top 100 Validation Errors

Entering the Australian Web Awards? ‘Course you are. We recommend you check your markup prior to entering – you can use the same tool the judges use;

This fabulous site-wide markup validator is Jaime Iniesta’s labor of love. Or labor of Clove. As you can see here, he’s relying on donations from developers to reward him for his time, having removed all advertising from the site in February. 

And the Top 100 Errors chart is a thing of great beauty; an up-to-date record of how people are getting it wrong (remember your Alts, people). It’s free (unless you donate!) and it may help you win an Australian Web Award, since we remove points for validation errors. Too many errors; no pretty trophy on the mantle piece. The exception is the Personal category, which does not require validation since the CMS is often out of your hands.

So go to it: Validate. Revegetate. Validate.

Help inspire Australia’s web industry

- a call for judges.

The Australian Web Awards announces the call for judges for its 5th annual national Web Awards competition. The Australian Web Awards is the standards-defining competition that sets industry benchmarks based on the eight criteria of a successful Web site. Judges will consist of a select group of Internet professionals who have direct experience designing and managing Web sites, including members of the interactive creative directors, site designers, acessibility consultants,  content providers and webmasters - with an in-depth understanding of the current state-of-the-art in Web site development and technology.

"The Australian Web Awards is different from other Web site award programs as we just don't focus on name recognition and design. For the last 4 years (as a national awards program), industry professionals have volunteered to provide the backbone of our award program and helped the top Australian Web sites get the recognition they deserve. As an Australian Web Awards judge, you are helping to set the standard of excellence for all web site development. Judging challenges you by having you visit and review web sites that you normally would not visit. Being a judge helps develop a critical eye to the many facets of leading-edge web development." - Awards Chairperson Helen Burgess.

Judging for the 2012 Australian Web Awards will take place throughout August 2012, with finalists announced in September and winners at a gala cocktail function hosted by our major sponsor Ilisys in mid-October. Some of the past judges have been:

  • Chris Mills (UK)
  • Russ Weakley (NSW)
  • Oliver Weidlich (NSW)
  • Jenn Lukas (USA)
  • Simon Pascal Klein (ACT)
  • Cameron Adams (NSW)

Judges Information

If you think you have the experience and talent it takes to be an Australian Web Awards Judge; or know someone who does, and would like to be considered for the 2012 Australian Web Awards judging panel, nominate yourself or another Internet Professional, please send an email to [email protected].

Please Note:  If you are a past Australian Webs Awards judge and your contact information has not changed since last year, please wait for your judging request email.  If your information has changed, please send an email to [email protected] with the following information:

  • Name
  • Company
  • Your Company Website URL
  • Title
  • Address
  • City
  • State
  • Postal Code
  • Country
  • E-Mail
  • Please provide a list of URLs for sites you have developed.
  • Why do you think you would make a good judge?
  • Have you been a Australian Web Awards judge in the past?

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.