The McFarlane Prize for Excellence in Australian Web Design

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.

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 :)

in transit

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!

links for 14 July 2006

  • What does this mean? The language we use really matters. It shapes outcomes. Words change our perceptions. What we hear and what we say can bend reality. This is not trivial.
  • 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