Australian Web Awards

The Awards Process

The Australian Web Awards are held every year in May, but the awards process itself begins at least six months prior. To make sure you don’t miss an important deadline, you’ll find information for the entire awards process below, including the judging criteria. 

Entries to the Australian Web Awards are announced in January of the awards year, so make sure you’re subscribed to our mailing list to be first in the know.

The Awards Process

Timeline of the Awards

The Australian Web Awards moves through three phases every year, which are:


  1. Entries are invited for a period of time (typically one month) in February of the award year
  2. When entries close, judging commences, and will run for upwards of a month, during March
  3. And lastly, finalists are announced in April to coincide with the release of information for our annual Edge of the Web conference.

When an entry is submitted, it needs to pass through two stages: an initial check to make sure the entry meets the awards guidelines, then a second stage of rigourous judging. 


We take the two-stage judging process for the Australian Web Awards very seriously.
A weighted points system is used and each website entered into the awards is reviewed, assessed and reviewed by multiple judges.
The process takes up to three months from when entries close and the judging period ends.

Stage one

All websites entered into the awards are reviewed for evidence of the following: 

  • Markup
  • Site performance
  • Accessibility compliance as required for the category entry.

If an entry meets these initial web industry standards, it will go through to the second stage of the awards process.

Stage two

In the second stage of the Australian Web Awards process, a selected panel of industry experts judge and evaluate each website against the criteria for the category it has entered. It’s important to note that there are different evaluation criteria and criteria weightings for each category, so make sure you read all information carefully.

The evaluation scores from our judges are collated to produce the list of possible winners in each category. Every potential winner is independently re-verified to ensure their entry adheres to the requirements and specified testing guidelines for that category.

Judging criteria

Every website that makes it into the awards is judged according to 7 key criteria, which you can explore in greater detail in the drop down categories below.

User interface design

  • Are the visuals appropriate for the target market? Do they project the image wanted by the client?
  • Do the visuals enhance what the site is trying to communicate?
  • Are the branding and styling consistent across the site and across different platforms, e.g. mobile, tablet?
  • Are there innovative visual elements or typography that don't adversely impact readability?
  • Does the website display consistently in widely-used web browsers? (Chrome, Safari, Explorer, Firefox)


  • Is the content well written and clear?
  • Is the tone appropriate for the website’s target market?
  • Is the content informative?
  • Is the content original or unusually engaging?
  • Is the website free of spelling or grammar errors, out-of-date or obviously inaccurate content?
  • Are appropriate policies included and easy to understand? (e.g. Customer Satisfaction Guarantee, Returns, Security, Privacy, Copyright)

User experience design

  • Is the content structured to help the target market find information easily (headings, navigability)?
  • Do pages load in good time? Is page performance optimised?
  • Is the content markup appropriate (not the code but headings, paragraphs etc)?
  • Is there a site map or search facilities where appropriate?
  • How is the user experience on different platforms?
  • Is there a smooth purchase experience? (If applicable)
  • Is the shopping catalogue easy to browse or search? (If applicable)
  • How easy is it to create an account for the website? (If applicable)
  • Is the checkout process uncomplicated and easy to use? (If applicable)
  • Does the website function as expected; does everything work?


  • Is your site valid? We recommend that you use SiteValidator to check your site's validity against the HTML5 standard.
  • How well implemented are technologies like databases, shopping carts, forms, payment processes, widgets, search, mailing lists?
  • Has the development work required complex integration with legacy systems?
  • If JavaScript is implemented is it following best practice?
  • Do the web technologies deliver the intended functionality?
  • Are the technologies simple, logical and easy to use?
  • Do the various parts of the website download quickly?
  • Is the website architecture helpful to search engine indexing?
  • How innovative is the system or technology or interface? 
  • How good is online security?
  • Has there been constructive customisation?


The Australian Web Awards are using the Accessibility Checklist as the basis for our judging checklist. We recommend you use either by itself or through the site-wide checker.


  • Does the website meet WCAG 2 Level A compliance? If not, what level?
  • Is the markup valid and semantic?
  • Is there a separation of content, presentation and behaviour layering?
  • Is there good use of Cascading Style Sheets and unobtrusive scripting?
  • Is the website viewable in different browsers and different platforms?


  • For Android 4 or later does the site perfom well using the 'Talkback' screen reader?
  • For iOS, does the site perform well using the 'Voiceover' screen reader and 'Explore by Touch'?


  • The quality of the innovation
  • The significance of the innovation in an industry-wide context.

Social Media

  • Did the campaign have clear objectives and strategy?
  • How well structured was the campaign?
  • How well was the response to the campaign measured?
  • What results were achieved in awareness and engagement?
  • Was the campaign innovative?
  • If used, was there an effective cross-platform strategy?
  • If used, how did paid social media contribute to the campaign's success?
  • What impact did the social media activity have on actual business results, e.g. conversion rates, sales impact?
  • Were the objectives met? If exceeded, by how much?


Criteria weighting for each category

Every entry is judged according to the above criteria and each component has a particular percentage weighting (out of 100).
Take a look at the weighting for each category below, and note that not all criteria apply to every category.


UI Design - 22%
Content - 21%
UX Design - 22%
Development - 25%
Accessibility - 10%

Small business

UI Design - 25%
Content - 20%
UX Design - 25%
Development - 20%
Accessibility - 10%


UI Design - 22%
Content - 21%
UX Design - 22%
Development - 25%
Accessibility - 10%


UI Design - 20%
Content - 25%
UX Design - 20%
Development - 25%
Accessibility - 10%


UI Design - 20%
Content - 25%
UX Design - 20%
Development - 25%
Accessibility - 10%


UI Design - 22%
Content - 23%
UX Design - 22%
Development - 20%
Accessibility - 15%


UI Design - 15%
Content - 25%
UX Design - 25%
Development - 25%
Accessibility - 10%


UI Design - 10%
Content - 5%
UX Design - 10%
Development - 15%
Innovation - 60%

Small business

Content - 20%
UX Design - 10%
Innovation - 10%
Success - 60%

Apply to become a judge

AWIA is always on the lookout for web industry professionals to help judge our awards.
If you have experience in any of the above categories and can dedicate some of your time to judging in March

get in touch


How to enter the Australian Web Awards

Entry to the awards opens in February of the awards year.
To make sure you’re prepared, have a read of our guidelines and eligibility requirements first.

How to enter


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