Aussie Web Design Awards Roundup

Matthew Magain

It’s that time of year, when Australia seems to be abuzz with web design awards.

Western Australian Web AwardsFirst on the calendar are the WAWAs (Western Australian Web Awards), organised by the Australian Web Industry Association.

While statistically the WA web industry might be small compared to the rest of the world, these awards (and the exceptional standard of the finalists) is a terrific example of how a relatively small community can bond together to support each other, fostering a healthy local web industry. Other states (and countries) could certainly take notice.

Nominations for these awards have closed, and finalists were announced last week. If you’re in WA, I strongly urge you to get along to this event (and check out the excellent regular port80 social functions too!).


Next up are the Desktop Create: Awards. These awards cover graphic design in all mediums, not just web.

From the organizers:

The theme “In the Spotlight” reflects all the glitz and glamour of a movie premier combined with the spectacle of a big scale production. Icons and idols, directors and designers, reality and fantasy all drawn together to create the 2007 Desktop create:awards night of nights.

The evening of Friday the 31st of August will see the stars shimmer and shine as the winners of the create:awards are finally revealed. The party itself is shaping up to be a massive celebration of design, art, technology and talent as we lock in the evening’s entertainment. Once again we will have well-known comedian Dave Callan MCing the evening, as we provide our guests with a stunning array of first class food and beverages to keep the evening shaking.

Create: Awards

  • Where: Forum Theatre, 154 Flinders Street Melbourne
  • When: Friday 31st August
  • Time: 7:30pm till late
  • Dress: Cocktail
  • Cost: $95 per ticket or group of 5 people for $400
  • Provided: Finger Food, Beverages & Entertainment
  • Bookings: Call Allison on 03 9948 4942 or visit the Niche Media subscription site.

Last year I posted about the lack of consideration for accessibility and usability in this awards’ finalists, and — to their credit — the organizers’ response was to ask me to be a judge in this year’s awards. I’m hoping my background will bring some balance to the voting this year.


McFarlane PrizeAnd finally the McFarlane Prize, for excellence in Australian web design, is on again.

In 2006, its first year, the prize was an enormous success, bringing attention as it did to web standards and accessibility, in combination with excellence in user experience design, and giving recognition to those people and organisations who genuinely address these areas in their work. A very high standard was set with the entries last year, but we fully expect that standard to be exceeded in 2007.

Nominations for entries close on August 31, and the winners will be announced at the Web Directions South conference in Sydney in September.

I can confirm that the standard of last year’s nominees was exceptional. I was fortunate enough to see the winners, Dave and Sarah from the Museum Victoria team, give a WSG presentation in Melbourne about the process they went through to create their winning entry, with their site Caught and Coloured. It really is one of those sites that combines form and function to look beautiful and be very usable and accessible.

So, if you or your team are:

  1. Australian, and
  2. have been involved in designing (or redesigning) a site between August 1st 2006 and July 31 2007

then you should nominate your site now.


Personally I think that all of the above awards have their place, and are terrific for encouraging and fostering a healthy web industry. What about in your part of the world? What awards exist to promote and encourage quality web design?

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