Putting Code Together Since 1987

10 Ways to Win Web Awards

In Design, Web Design on March 5, 2008 at 12:49 pm

It was close, but no cigar… one of our sites was nominated for the Clynol Best Salon Website of 2007 award.  Sadly we didn’t win it, but we looked at the competition and then at which site won.  We realised that with many of these awards the depth of analysis isn’t that deep.

Here’s how to get nominated:

  1. Impressive landing page – the first page people land on should be visually striking.  Pretty girls do seem to help on this, sadly, but it’s not the only way.
  2. Simple design – keep it simple and clean, at least on that front page, because that’s the one that will be looked at the most.
  3. Don’t worry too much about usability, at least at this stage, because the testing won’t be deep.
  4. Don’t worry about standards either, most of these folk won’t check.  Shame, but true.
  5. Keep the word-count down – too many words distract from ‘impressive’.

And then, of course, comes actually winning it:

  1. You won’t have any idea of the criteria against which your website is being judged.  It could be that the judging panel is looking at print-outs, has a passion for flowers, or anything – so don’t worry about it.  Also consider that the judges don’t necessarily know a thing about web design.  Just keep doing cool websites and the awards will come soon enough.
  2. Make sure the site is usable, at least on a superficial level.  If they want to find the location, make it easy to find.
  3. Trendy is good – but it does depend – web design and paper design trends are increasingly divergent, although they’re definitely influencing one another.  Also remember, if you’re being judged by designers (paper or otherwise) then what they consider to be leading edge is quite different to that of the average person.
  4. Flash sites win a disproportionate amount of awards, given their poor compatibility and search engine performance.  But there you go – if you want visually striking you can save a bomb by using Flash instead of html and css.
  5. Performance is paramount – any judge will be looking at a lot of sites.  If they’re viewing through browser windows they’ll be quickly bored – your site has to load quickly and respond rapidly.

To be honest, we were surprised we were nominated – it came entirely out of the blue as the site had never been submitted by us to any competition.  It wasn’t even a site we could feel was a particularly wonderful piece of work.  It was fine, and the client is delighted.  But what this nomination did do was to make the client feel justified in using us.  That alone is worth a fortune, and he’ll have told everyone who’d listen.

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