The AWIA Australian Web Awards allows Australian digital agencies to submit their most innovative client work and be recognised by their peers (a rare thing).

This year, after many years of being an outside admirer, I decided to put my hand up to be a judge on the panel. I felt the skills I have gained over the years, would make me a great judge of the best sites Australia can produce.

After an involved review process, I was nominated to be a judge of the 'Development' category - the pressure was on!

Although we had a set of criteria we were looking for, overall I was looking for websites that were following best practices with respect to the web technologies they were running under the hood, and anyone that was thinking a little outside of the box with their solutions to their client's development requirements.

I wasn’t looking for designs that were 'trendy', I was looking for how it was all pieced together which often gets overlooked if the website is running optimally. Just like how the best referees in sport are the ones you don't notice! 

Overall, the entrants are split into 10 categories:

  • Personal
  • Startup
  • Small Business
  • E-commerce
  • Commercial
  • Government
  • Education
  • Not for Profit
  • Innovation
  • Social Media

And then each category is weighted differently between 6 areas:

  • UI Design
  • Content
  • UX Design
  • Development
  • Accessibility
  • Innovation

These entries are then narrowed into 5 finalists before deciding the winner for each category.

Some of my favourites from the awards (in no particular order) were:

Melbourne Girls Grammar

Mgg
Onia
Feral

After the judging, I headed over to Perth for the Awards gala.

First off, Perth is an amazing city, and I enjoyed a few days after the event exploring the city and trying to perfect my Quokka-selfie.

Quokka

The event was a really great opportunity to speak to many agency owners, who are doing some really great things online for Australian businesses. For them, these awards are reward and recognition for the countless hours they put into these projects (hours that sometimes the client may not properly appreciate).

The big winners on the night were Humaan, Ignite Online, NotMyDebt, Equilibrium & Jen Clark Designs.

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I’d like to thank the organisers for putting together such a great night, and I look forward to being involved again (if they will have me!).