Greetings from Koh Tao, Thailand (a.k.a. heaven on earth).
Just a quick note to help spread the word about this new Australian web design prize. For me, I think a lot of the current ‘awards’ are pretty lame at the moment (speaking from both the judging and the judged perspective). Hopefully this one will actually help to unearth, promote and reward real excellence in practice in our industry.
This prize is a little different from others in at least two ways.
Firstly – you don’t have to pay a fortune in entry fees to have your site considered. Too often, great work is not included in awards because the entry fees are prohibitive. Congrats to the Macfarlane Prize team for not following this trend and allowing everyone to be involved. However,…
Secondly. There are only four judges, expert in each of the critiera for the awards (Usability, Design, Accessibility and Coding). I hope these guys (and gal!) have nothing much on in the next few months, because they will have a mountain of entries to get through, I predict (especially due to factor one: free entry!).
I have mixed feelings about the small number of judges here and the fact that there is only one per category. Particularly Design and Usability which can be such subjective areas. (Perhaps accessibility and coding can also be subjective, certainly coding seems to be! I’m not so expert in those fields so I’ll leave others to comment). For me I probably would have rather see 3 judges per criteria, but perhaps that would start administrative hassles that the ‘Prize’ can’t afford just now.
Anyways, congrats to the team for getting it off the ground. Go check it out for yourself.
Here are the details as forwarded by Maxine Sherrin:
Named in memory of noted Australian web pioneer Nigel McFarlane, the inaugural McFarlane Prize, aims to recognize and encourage excellence in web design by Australian developers.http://www.mcfarlaneprize.com/
The Prize will reward excellence in web design in the broadest sense, from the appropriate use of technology, to design aesthetics, to its impact more broadly on the web.
Open to Australian designers or teams for a site launched or significantly upgraded between August 1 2005 and July 31 2006, the Prize aims to be a showcase of the best in Australian web design, and to inspire other developers in their endeavours. Nominations are now open.
The McFarlane Prize will be awarded by a jury of Australian experts in various fields of web design and development. Based on two rounds of judging, the McFarlane Prize shortlist will be announced on September 22nd.
The announcement of the winner of the inaugural McFarlane Prize will then be made at the Web Directions Conference Reception, September 28 2006, during Australian Web Design Week.
So, if you’ve been doing some web excellence lately, be sure to get along to the website and submit your site. I look forward to seeing an amazing showcase of great Australian work.
Meanwhile, for me, I have some snorkelling to do, followed by some lazing on the beach with a trashy novel.
I’ll be back online ‘seriously’ in a couple of weeks. Hope you’re all well! Until then :)
apologies for the break in transmissions… well, not apologies at all really.. I’m on holidays. I was in Malacca, Malaysia today and visiting their ‘History and Ethnography Museum’ and brewing up a great post re: ethnography, but it will have to wait. In Singapore, where I am at the moment, there is a plethora of unsecured wireless networks. I’m not so sure that will be the case in Thailand, where I’m heading tomorrow evening. I’ll have a lot more time for reflection there, but possibly no access to the internet… so with any luck, whenever I next get to post, it will be a thoroughly reflected and sub-edited attempt (which will make a nice change, won’t it!)
anyways. think of tropical weather and cocktails, and I’ll be back with you before you know it!
Darren Rowse recently conducted a poll on his ProBlogger site to determine the proportion of male/female readers. In this post he considered what the resultant stats and the m/f balance in commenting might mean re gender and blogging
So, what exactly is it about packing and moving that is so entirely horrendous?
I’ve said to many people in the past week that it’s an exercise in ongoing under-estimation. Underestimating how much, how long, how expensive, how heavy, how tired.
It’s got a lot in common with working on an enormous project with not enough time and not enough budget, and the media booked for launch.
(This is why I’ve started encouraging my clients to work in increments now. I’m starting to think all enormous projects are doomed – not to mention rarely profitable… but that’s a whole other post).
I’m looking forward to only have two suitcases worth of gear. Must try to keep it to that for as long as possible. It will be good to not have possessions for a while!
I’ve noticed a few interesting behaviours in the last week of organising ‘stuff’ (see, packing up a house has a lot in common with information architecture… and I get to be the architect and the user at the same time! I am my own usability test!)
Some of these may be abundantly obvious, but I’m tired enough to find it interesting.
It’s much easier to be diligent at the beginning of the exercise than it is at the end.
This is because it’s natural to leave the trickiest things to last.
Things are tricky when they don’t have a natural place. They don’t fit neatly into a box, or they’re hard to wrap, or no one wants to take them off your hand. They end up in a pile in the corner of the loungeroom. You enter the room with hand on hip, stare at the weird little pile, and sigh. Then walk out again.
You will always argue over what can be thrown out and what cannot. The person with the best rationale wins. Except if the item was originally a present. (Although, I’m not sure how the present fits in the the IA metaphor… any ideas? While you’re thinking about it, read what Christopher Fahey has to say about throwing things out and web redesign.)
Throughout the process you will group things together in different ways. Sometime because they are similar types of items. Sometimes because you will need to get to them at similar times, sometimes just because they’re the same shape or share a fragile nature. It doesn’t really matter. If there was a rational reason for the grouping, you’ll remember it and be able to refind the item quickly.
You never group things logically at the end of the packing process. You throw things together randomly. This is when you lose things.
Once you start throwing things together randomly, the entire system breaks down. Even those things that are grouped logically suffer because you lose faith in your system.
The number of ‘special places’ you have to put important items is inversely proportional to the ‘specialness’ (read: useful/memorableness) of those special places.
The only time you go through this process is when you move. There are some possessions you *only* see when you move house. You still don’t throw them out.
The longer the time between moves, the more hellish the packing process.
We’re very close to hopping on a plane and heading off on our big adventure now, so posts might be a bit sporadic and possibly off topic for the next couple weeks. Promise I’ll brew up a few great posts for my return… (from a lounge chair in the shade on a beautiful Thai beach! Now that’s blogging!)
My name is Leisa Reichelt. I am the Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office.
I lead a team of great researchers who work in agile, multidisciplinary digital teams to help continuously connect the people who design products with the people who will use them and support experimentation and ongoing learning in product design.
If you're interested in working with me or would like to talk more please email me