Judging Criteria Guide 2016

Please use this as a guide only. The 2017 criteria will be released shortly.

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Core criteria for all submissions

All submissions must meet the following criteria to ensure that they adhere to a common, usable standard, no matter what category they are in.

Entries that fail to meet (the majority) of these criteria will not be shortlisted.

  • Accessible - (minimal) accessibility requirements have been addressed
  • Actionable - clear how to achieve tasks/goals that the app/site/service is designed for; do things look like their function? Is it obvious what to press and what not to, etc
  • Consistent - consistency of IA, visual and interaction design throughout the site/app/service
  • Content - good content, appropriate for the web/apps/service
  • Cross-platform - works well across platforms (unless specifically designed not to be multi-platform); windows/mac, iOS/Android/WinMo
  • Flow - does the user know where to start on the page? Is the path from start to finish clearly defined?
  • Functional - it works, ideally quickly (low loading times), no bugs, no dead links, HTML5 videos, not reliant on flash or third-party plugins, browser independent
  • IA - good navigation, understandable labelling, clear and well defined iconography, orientation within the app/service/site is clear, links and CTAs are obvious, well labelled and consistently presented
  • Interface - the interface doesn’t get in the way of the content, unless the interface is deliberately designed to be engaging and something fun to interact with and, to some extent, is the content - e.g. a game, or even Bloom
  • Purpose - clear what the app/site/service is supposed to let you achieve / what problem it is designed to solve
  • Research - evidence of a good research process that has gone into the development of the product
  • Visual design - aesthetically pleasing visual design

Entries will be marked against each criteria on a scale of 0-4 for:

  • 0: Totally fails in this regard
  • 1: Touches upon this criteria
  • 2: Meets this criteria in a basic/average way
  • 3: Meets this criteria well
  • 4: Offers a really good example of how to meet this criteria comprehensively

On top of these basic criteria are unique, additional guiding criteria for specific categories.

Best User Experience

This is the award to win. The Best User Experience Award will be presented to the very best of the best – the most inspiring, user-focused site, app or service.

Specific criteria: Best User Experience

This overall best category will involve an entry that stands out from the rest and can include:

  • Delight - joyous to use - makes even mundane tasks seem fun and enjoyable
  • Emotional design - employs emotional design techniques (e.g. clear personality to the site/app/service, tone of voice, evocative imagery and copy) to help users engage with the site/app/service on an emotional level
  • Empowering - Leaves users feeling able to do something they didn’t think they could do before; provides a sense of success/achievement/accomplishment through interacting with the service/site/app
  • Engagement - site/app/service must be extremely engaging, leaving users with a desire for more or looking for opportunities to use it again, engenders commitment from users; leaves you wanting to tell others about their great discovery
  • Inspirational - Has the power to get users to do something that they didn’t think they’d want to do before
  • Persuasive - clear evidence of persuasive techniques being used to benefit the user, to help drive them to the make the decision that is right for them
  • Rewarding - users are rewarded for returning to the site/app/service or for continuing to use it in the long term. This could be in the form of financial rewards, social status, or just because it’s so damn lovely to use that it’s a reward in itself to use it.
  • Stimulation/motivation - the design of the site/app/service encourages users to engage with it, makes them want to act
  • Trust - Design and copy is used to build trust with the user, helping them build a positive relationship with the app/site/service
View Core Criteria ▲

Best Entertainment & Leisure Experience

This award will be presented to the best, user-centric leisure or entertainment experience.

Specific criteria: Best Entertainment Experience

  • Ease of access to content - if a music app, you can quickly get to your music, if it’s a game you quickly get to the action and not having to go through lots of hoops
  • Emotional design - evidence of ED to increase engagement and entertainment quality of the app/site/service = surprise/delight, personality, tone of voice, baby-like appearances; Doesn’t overwhelm the app/site, isn’t excessive or inappropriate
  • Gamification/addiction/reward - does the app/site/service engage you sufficiently to leave you wanting to come back for more? Are there deliberate areas in the design that lure you back or make return visits worthwhile?
  • Usable - sounds daft, but in the entertainment area it can be just plain confusing how to just get started using the “entertaining” game/app/site/service - does it avoid this?
View Core Criteria ▲

Best Not-for-Profit

Not all efforts in user experience are undertaken to raise the bottom line. This category will recognise a not-for-profit website, app or service that has been designed with its audience in mind.

Specific criteria: Best Not-For-Profit

  • Empowering - Leaves users feeling able to do something they didn’t think they could do before; provides a sense of success/achievement/accomplishment through interacting with the service/site/app
  • Impact on KPIs- evidence included within the submission that key performance indicators (conversion, profit, turnover, number of help requests, returned item, waiting times, etc) of the business/service has been improved as a result of the site/app/service
  • Inspirational - Has the power to get users to do something that they didn’t think they’d want to do before
  • Persuasive - clear evidence of persuasive techniques being used to benefit the user, to help drive them to the make the decision that is right for them
  • Stimulation/motivation - the design of the site/app/service encourages users to engage with it, makes them want to act
  • Trust - Design and copy is used to build trust with the user, helping them build a positive relationship with the app/site/service
View Core Criteria ▲

Best Public Sector

This category will recognise an app, website or service which presents information clearly, in an easy to access way and functions with good user experience within the public/government sector.

Specific criteria: Best Public Sector

  • Engagement with the public - how were members of the public (as well as public sector workers) engaged in the development of the product? User testing, interviews, persona development, workshops? Trials?
  • Service to the public - provides a valuable public service, possibly a new service or possibly improving on an existing service (that may have been offline previously)
  • Value to the public - clearly brings value to users (members of the public) - not a wasting of public funds in its production; ideally able to demonstrate savings to the public purse as a result of developing the site/service/app, or able to demonstrate how the investment made is likely to benefit the public interest in years to come
View Core Criteria ▲

Best Transactional Experience

This category rewards the most user-focused experience when purchasing goods or services online.

Specific criteria: Best Transactional Experience

  • Easy - shouldn’t be difficult to perform the transaction via all channels that the service operates over; suitable options for payments; clear basket, with easy editing/managing; good understanding of what you’re buying;
  • Efficient - forms should be short, just asking the minimum; users should be able to buy something without being forced to sign up/join some service (unless what they’re buying is access to the service)
  • Multi-channel - integration across channels; ability to go into a shop, see something, buy on phone, return via website, etc; Easy handover between channels - can you put things in a basket on the web and pick it up and pay for it on your mobile app? Can you scan a code on a hanger in the shop to see details of the item on the app on your phone? etc; Same design language/UI/branding across channels
    • "create an overall experience that's greater than the sum of its parts, let users move easily and naturally between platforms, and potentially offer capabilities that couldn't have been achieved without the interconnection of platforms.” - uxmag.org/awards
  • Persuasion - using persuasive design to drive behaviours that users want to perform - not abusing it to exploit or persuade users to do what you want, but helping convince them to do what’s best for them - e.g. helping them to know what others are buying, doing, spending, etc
View Core Criteria ▲

Best Effect on Business Goals

Great customer experience often results in great return on investment. The winner of this award will be able to show the most successful example of effect over cost and organisational goals.

Specific criteria: Best Effect of Business Goals

This is about impact on business as a result of improved user experience.

  • Impact on KPIs - evidence included within the submission that key performance indicators (conversion, profit, turnover, number of help requests, returned item, waiting times, etc) of the business/service has been improved as a result of the site/app/service
  • Role of research - evidence that a better understanding of users (goals, needs, motivations, anxieties, etc) through research has led to this impact on business goals
View Core Criteria ▲

Best Innovation

This category shines the spotlight on the most intelligent, ground-breaking innovation in building a service, app or website that is focused around customer/audience needs.

Specific criteria: Best Innovation

With innovation, value is particularly important - we don’t want innovation for innovation’s sake, it should be worthwhile and make the world a better place, not a place filled with superfluous bling.

  • Novelty - some element of the design of the site/app/service is new; something we’ve not seen before, or very rarely seen it before. Could be in the visual design, the use of technology to create a great user experience, the use of persuasion, desire, the interaction design, the emotional design, the way it’s made accessible to all audiences, the research methodologies employed, innovative use of multi-channel, measurement of ROI
  • Value - Is it worthwhile innovation? Does it solve a problem, or does it bring real value, or is it just frivolous or “innovation for the sake of it”? This innovation should be good.
  • Pioneering - is this the future? Do we believe this innovation is clearly a game-changer, that in light of this site/app/service, others will follow and adopt what’s novel here? Should others repeat and do as this? Sets the bar for where things will/should go in the future
View Core Criteria ▲

Best Student Project

This category recognises excellence in a user-focused app, website or service created by a student. This can be as a wire frame or as a live example.

Specific criteria: Best Student Project

The student can be in undergraduate/postgraduate university level & this project is not for a company but is part of a university related project or an independent idea.

  • Unlike all other entries, student entries do not need to be complete in live or in beta form, however the judges must have full access to them
  • These can be formed ideas/wireframes OR complete products/services
  • This will be based on the core criteria and is an “umbrella category” ie. It can fit under the above categories
View Core Criteria ▲

Best Information Experience

This category will recognise an app, website or service in any industry which presents information clearly, in an easy to access way and functions with good user experience.

Best Education or Learning Experience

This award will be presented to the best, user-centric educational or learning experience. This shines the spotlight on a beneficial learning and educational experience that has users at its heart, via a website or app.

Best Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality/Internet of Things Experience

Augmented and Virtual reality are at the bleeding edge of interaction design and user experience. From industry to entertainment, this last year has seen the release of the first high-end consumer devices and as with all new technology, the best applications haven’t yet been thought of. This category will recognise the best applications for AR, VR and IoT this year.

Specific criteria: Best Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality/Internet of Things Experience

Augmented and Virtual reality are at the bleeding edge of interaction design and user experience. From industry to entertainment, this last year has seen the release of the first high-end consumer devices and as with all new technology, the best applications haven’t yet been thought of. This category will recognise the best applications for AR, VR and IoT this year.

  • Platform specificity: The VR or AR application delivers an experience that is uniquely enriched by the platform i.e. does this VR/AR application demonstrate significant advantages over a similar service delivered via desktop, smartphone etc?
  • Novel, usable interaction: With VR/AR interaction design in its infancy and input methods widely differing, design patterns are in flux and opportunities to forge new paradigms exist. Does this application’s interaction design meet and/or exceed the core principles of usable, accessible and satisfying?
  • RE-usable/Utility: Many VR/AR applications have great first time appeal but beyond an immediate demo, being loomed over by a Diplodocus has limited utility. Does this VR/AR experience offer genuine utility or lasting entertainment?
  • Immersive:
    • Augmented Reality: The perception that the superimposed data ‘belongs’ in the world, providing a seamless and data rich environment.
    • Virtual Reality: The perception of being physically present in a non-physical world; the holy grail of VR. Does this application transport the user to another time or place?
    • Internet of Things: The IoT service blends in seamlessly to our busy lives, offering genuine utility and next to no interactive overhead
  • “My God, it’s full of stars”: Finally, this is a new and exciting technology that is available outside of the lab and expensive commercial systems for the first time. Does this application provide an experience that is genuinely innovative and exciting? Does it whet the appetite for the future of VR and AR in everyday life?
View Core Criteria ▲