Acknowledging The Work
Giving Recognition for Creativity
At some point, you’ve probably come across a webpage displaying the awards it has won. While there are many honours a site may receive, some are better known and attract more hype than others. Web design is a field that requires a great deal of hard work, technical knowledge, and creativity. What are some of the most prestigious website design awards?
An international jury featuring some of the most renowned bloggers, designers, and internet organizations evaluates submitted websites with a strict evaluation system. The sites receive a score from one to ten for the following categories: content, usability, creativity, and design. At the end of each year, an Awwwards conference and ceremony is held in iconic cities across the globe.
Referred to as “The Internet’s Highest Honor” by the New York Times, the Webbys have been around since the 1990s. Established by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences’, this web design recognition ceremony is one of – if not THE – most hyped events in the industry. Each year, there are more than ten thousand entries in more than 100 categories, ranging from web design to app design. Some of the organization members attracted to the Webby’s over the years include Arianna Huffington, David Bowie, and Matt Groening.
American Design Awards
Founded in 2000, the ADA is an internationally recognized independent design competition for web designers and graphic artists. The organization puts important considerations on talent, creativity, effectiveness, marketability, and general design abilities. Each year, ADA receives thirty thousand submissions, and holds semi-annual, monthly, and student design competitions.
The CLIOs have been around since the late 1950s. They were established to honor excellent in communication and advertising. These days, it has expanded to honor digital and web design accomplishments as well. They have been described by Time magazine as the world’s most renowned international advertising awards. Over one hundred judges from sixty different countries judge the entries. Less than 5% of the thousands of entries per year receive any type of statue. Of those, less than 1% receives the gold statue.
Favorite Website Awards
The FWA has been referred to as “The Web Oscars” by previous winners. The winner of the People’s Choice Award is decided upon by public votes, and the Site of the Year Award is decided upon by the judges. FWA was established in May 2000, and was the first internet award program to receive more than two-hundred million website visitors.
Other notable website design recognition includes:
The Addys were founded in 1960, and became part of the American Advertising Federation. Like the CLIOs, the Addys have recently begun to recognize interactive media. The interactive categories include consumer websites, B2B websites, podcasts, and online newsletters.
The Design & Ad Awards have also been around since the 1960s. For every 2,600+ entries, there are only sixteen winners. The most prestigious categories include a yellow pencil (silver) and black pencil (gold). Website categories include Photography, Interface & Navigation, New Uses of Websites, Sound, and Writing.
Is it Usable?
The goal of a good business website is to give the user a good experience – one that will ultimately entice them to buy from you. In a well-designed website, the user will know instantly what the website is about, navigation will be simple and intuitive and the call to action will be clear and easy to do.
Do not underestimate the laziness of your user. If your website is difficult to understand or does not give your user what they are looking for with minimal clicking, they are likely to go back to the search engine and find a website that will give them what they are looking for.
Space on your website is just as important as it is in traditional media. Website designers are constantly coming up with creative ways to use space. Space helps to create flow or a focal point on your website. Consistency in spacing is important for a professional looking website and will help with your overall user experience.
The About Us Page
This is a page that you almost always see on the websites of small and medium companies – and for good reason! If your business is not yet a household name, many of your potential customers will want to know who you are before they buy from you.
Your About Us page can cover a number of topics ranging from how the company started, who the original owners were/are, as well as your mission and vision statements.
Even if your business is strictly online, it is important for many users that they have a way that they can contact you. You can either include your physical address along with an email address and telephone number or you can use an online contact form.
Call to Action
What would you like your visitors to do once they visit your website? Are you looking for them to buy from you? Get a quote? Sign up for something? The call to action in your website should be clear, easy to do and your web design and content should compel the user act.
If your website contains many pages, a search feature will help your users navigate your site to find what they are looking for. Remember, even large sites should not be complicated and the better experience you give your user, the more likely they are to be repeat visitors.
Whether it be beautiful photographs or cool graphics, you want your site to be visually appealing. Good web design will incorporate images that are both appropriate to your brand, and are engaging to your users.
Good website design factors in a number of elements and principles. Using these principles in your own website will be key to your online success.
Make it as user-friendly as possible.
Common factors that turn people away from a webpage include slow loading, crashing, poorly written content, unappealing contrast, etc. You only have a few seconds to draw a visitor in, and if you fail, you will have a high bounce rate. The page should load quickly and smoothly. The content should be well-organized. If it’s a product page, don’t show too many products to users at once. The page should also load quickly on mobile devices in addition to PCs.
Don’t put all the focus on the homepage – consider all possible landing pages.
Every page on your site will be indexed by the search engines unless you use specific coding to tell the crawlers not to index a certain page. This means that some pages might end up with a higher ranking than the homepage itself. Never neglect any page that a visitor might end up on, or they might not find the content interesting enough to continue on with your site.
Provide good readability and contrast.
Don’t use colours that are pleasing to you – think of what your visitors will want. Your design should not blind anybody. At the same time, it shouldn’t be boring. Provide good contrast and make sure the text is displayed clearly for easy readability. Also, don’t overcrowd the page with images and graphics. A bit of white space here and there is a good thing.
Keep content fresh.
Don’t just buy a domain name and throw a website up without ever updating it. People are always searching for fresh information. It doesn’t matter what kind of industry you are involved in – it’s your responsibility to provide visitors with all of the latest information. This doesn’t mean you have to update your site every single day. Once or twice a week is usually sufficient. A web page with outdated information won’t help you at all in search engine rankings.
Updates should contain information that is useful and helpful to the reader. Don’t just write about your company. Unless you are a well-known brand, nobody will care.
Offer more than one method of contacting you. Encourage visitors to provide you with feedback so that you’ll know how to make the site better for them. Also, have social networking links on each page so that users can share information with their friends and associates.
Will the design company make a good partner?
Don’t underestimate the value of a good partnership. A professional web design company will work with you and help you decide on what kind of design will be best for your needs. You might be working with the company for a long time if you want ongoing support, so you have to look at each company you consider as a potential partner.
What kind of technology doe the company have experience with?
No matter what kind of website you wish to have, the company you work with should be able to use the latest tools, technologies and design trends to create a professional website that will grow with your business over time. Ask them what technologies they will be using and how those technologies would make a good fit for your business.
What does their portfolio look like?
Take a look at the firm’s portfolio to see what kinds of websites the company is capable of designing. If any of the websites have an URL, you might want to visit them to see if they run smoothly and if navigation is easy. Pay attention to the small details so that you can tell the designers what you like and what you think will work best for you, as well any features or design elements that you’re not crazy about. If you’re unsure, ask them to help you decide. Once again, a good company will work with you for as long as it takes.
Does the design include technology for every platform and screen resolution?
These days, a professional website will run on any platform, including laptops, desktops, tablet PCs, and smartphones. It will also run smoothly on any web browser with any resolution, no matter how large or small. Make sure the company you work with guarantees this kind of technology, so that your website will be accessible by all.
Will the website will reflect your business?
In order to build you a professional website, the designer should take the time to learn about your business and your goals. The website should be designed specifically for YOUR business. The design should reflect your brand and vision. Even if you just want a small, simple site, it should still represent you.
Keep these pointers in mind when selecting your professional web designer, and you should end up with your ideal website.