Programmers, designers, brand marketers and product managers have very different professional concerns, but there is a common denominator among them: an interest in well-executed websites. One of the best ways to track these down is through rolling submission website awards. You may have come across some of these daily and weekly affirmations of site design and development success. They’re meant to honor excellence in web design, usability, creativity and content, and draw attention to projects that may not otherwise receive the global recognition they deserve.
Most everyone within an agency or client-side environment can glean something from exploring winning sites and their secrets to success. In other words, it isn’t just your marketing manager who should keep these awards on his or her radar. Luckily, keeping abreast of new awards doesn’t require infinite resources, or even any significant amount of effort. Begin by signing up for the award competitions’ e-mail newsletters and, if you maintain a personal or professional social media presence while at work, their Twitter and Facebook pages. This will ensure that you catch the latest winners when they’re first announced.
You can also peruse past winners, as the majority of award competitions archive their submissions, often including both nominees and selected winners. Be on the lookout for public commentary from judges on issues that relate to your area of expertise, and be sure to vote online for your favorite site where possible. Some competitions seek feedback from industry peers to supplement professional judging, and this is a great opportunity to make your own expert opinion known.
What follows is a brief list of award competitions to get you started, but there are others out there that are actively culling superior websites every day – websites that have a lot to teach us about digital media success.