The internet industry has established various award schemes for websites, following the example of the Tony, Oscar, BAFTA, Cannes Film Festival and Emmy awards which are granted in the fields of theatre, film and television. This article covers notable awards.
General website awards
There are numerous general website award schemes including:
The WebAwards scheme has been operated since 1997 by the Web Marketing Association, based in Simsbury, Connecticut, USA. It grants annual awards to websites in 96 industry categories including Advertising, Architecture, Automobile, Banks, Broadcasting, Insurance, Investor Relations, Legal, Leisure, Media, Medical, Military, Movies, Music, News, Pharmaceuticals, Political, Real Estate, Retail, School, Sports, Technology, Travel, and University. Entries are judged by three or more expert judges on seven criteria, each of which is given equal weight. The criteria are: Design, Innovation, Content, Technology, Interactivity, Copywriting, and Ease of use.
The Webby Awards
The Webby Awards scheme has been operated since 1996 by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which is based in New York, USA. Awards are granted each spring for websites which demonstrate Best Practice in: Content, Structure & Navigation, Visual Design, Interactivity, Functionality, and Overall Experience. Other award categories include: Activism, Commerce, Fashion, Humor, Kids, News, Politics, Science, and Sports. There are Business Website awards covering categories which include: Automotive, Financial Services, Professional Services, Retail, and Travel. The main awards are decided by a panel of judges. The related People's Voice Awards are decided by online public vote. The "Webbie" Awards actually first appeared in 1995, sponsored by the Academy of Web Design, San Francisco. The award entity was later transferred to the International Academy, and the spelling was changed to "Webby."
Favourite Website Awards
The Favourite Website Awards (FWA) scheme has been operated since 2000 by FWA, which is based in Cambridge, England. FWA claims to be the world's most visited website award program, receiving more than 4 million visits per month. FWA selects a Site of the Day, a Site of the Month, and a Site of the Year. Recent Sites of the Day are shown as thumbnails on the FWA front page. FWA bases its selections on: Design 40%, Navigation 25%, Graphics 15%, Content 15%, and Personality 5%. As a result of the emphasis on design and graphics, winning websites tend to be strikingly designed and visually attractive. In addition to the Site of the Year, there is an annual People's Choice Award decided by online public vote.
The CSSDA (CSS Design Awards) has been awarding website awards since 2010 and is based in the USA and Australia. CSSDA Website awards are granted daily for websites that demonstrate high creativity, professionally coded CSS, flawless functioning and W3C compliance where possible. Early iterations of CSSDA did not allow Flash websites due to the lack of CSS expertise for which the CSSDA was founded on celebrating. Websites submitted are now permitted to be created using predominantly CSS with minimal use of Flash. CSSDA is seen by a global audience and claims to be the fastest growing website awards platform in recent times.
Interactive Media Awards
The Interactive Media Awards (IMA) scheme has been operated since 2005 by the non-profit Interactive Media Council Inc., which is based in New York, USA. Entries are judged on the following criteria: Design, Content, Feature Functionality, Usability, and Standards Compliance & Cross-Browser Compatibility. IMA takes the view that a website rich in graphic design is of little value if its content is weak, boring and useless. Awards are granted annually in 100 categories. These are divided into four quarterly judging rounds. Categories include Advertising, Agriculture, Arts & Culture, Banking, Community, Education, Energy, Legal, News, Politics, Real Estate, School, Spirituality, and Sports.
Website awards for advertising and design
Several advertising and design award schemes now include categories for websites and other interactive media.
The Addy Awards are operated by the American Advertising Federation, which is based in Washington DC, USA. In addition to awards for print, poster, and television advertisements, there are several categories for interactive media. These include: Business to Business Websites, Consumer Websites, Banners & Pop-Ups, E-Cards, Micro & Mini Websites, Online Games, Online Newsletters, Podcasts, Mobile Marketing, Internet Commercials, and Webisodes. Selection is based on a judgement of creative quality.
The Clio Awards program, which is based in New York USA, is operated by Nielsen, the Dutch media conglomerate formerly known as VNU. Clio awards recognise excellence in advertising and design. There is an interactive category, which grants awards to websites. Other categories include: TV/Cinema, Print, Poster, and Billboard. The Clio jury comprises more than 100 judges drawn from more than 60 countries. Awards are granted during the four day Clio Festival, held each May in Miami, Florida.
The D&AD awards program is operated by D&AD, a non-profit organization based in London, England, and founded in 1962, which represents the global creative, design and advertising communities. D&AD offers several annual awards for websites, including awards for: Websites, Microsites, New Uses of Websites, Writing, Sound Design, Interface & Navigation, and Photography. Two levels of award are granted: the Yellow Pencil (equivalent to a silver award) and the coveted Black Pencil (equivalent to a gold award).