The AWA judging process is simple and thorough, performed by some of the industry’s leading experts. Interested in judging for 2021?

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Australian Web Awards entries are assessed using a combination of ‘judging disciplines’, such a content or development, and ‘judging criteria’ which is a scale from 1 to 5. Each site is reviewed and judged by multiple judges.

The First Stage

Before the judging process commences, all entries are reviewed for evidence of the following:

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

Entries that meet the recommended guidelines qualify for judging. See Recommended Tools below for what your entry needs to meet to progress further in the awards.

Judging disciplines

Each entry will be judged in up to* five disciplines, and they are:

  • Design
  • Development
  • User experience
  • Content
  • Accessibility.

*Depending on the category – if it’s a social campaign or SEO – an entry may not need all five disciplines.

Judging criteria

Each judging discipline contains criteria based on a simple 1 to 5 scale. Here’s how that works:

  • 1 is the minimum level accepted – if an entry doesn’t get a 1 it won’t qualify for the awards.
  • 3 is the midpoint – this is where an entry would need to be to be considered as a finalist for an awards.
  • 5 is considered excellence – an entry that goes above and beyond and is outstanding (ideally what look to award in each category).

Each entry will be judged on its performance against the criteria and awarded points in each discipline to accrue a combined score. As an example, if there are 5 disciplines, an entry could have a total score between 5 and 25.

Case Study: Accessibility

Here is a sample of the specific questions a judge might ask to determine how many points to award an entry in the judging discipline of Accessibility:

  • 1 point:Have you considered the basics of web accessibility, and can you demonstrate at least five WCAG criteria that have been met?
  • 3 points: Have you reached WCAG AA compliance, if not why not?
  • 5 points: Have you gone above and beyond to consider a variety of users’ abilities and situations, and can you demonstrate how this has contributed to the overall user experience?’.

Here are some recommended tools to validate/test your site for the web awards. We are not saying that you have to use them. We are just saying that they are good tools.


Rocket Validator provides sitewide HTML/CSS and Accessibility validation. If an error is found on one page or more it groups errors and warnings with a number of times it occurs. It also provides a report on each page validated in the site. It can do deep linking as well. Rocket Validator now has integration with an accessibility checker – axe-core – through API calls. Rocket Validator requires an account and registration can be for a month or for a year.

Other tools include:


  • It is very important to keep in mind that to date, no website evaluation tool has been developed that can completely replace a human being. This is because with present technology it is difficult to emulate human attributes such as common sense. In this regard, the results that they produce should be interpreted in context with the website you are evaluating.
  • Tenon.io requires an account for deep linking and use of the API. There is a free service, however it shows only the basics.
  • WAVE tool by webaim
  • axe Testing Toolkit for Developers – they also have a Chrome Extension.
  • Functional Accessibility Evaluator 2.0 requires an account to get reports.

Contrast tools



Michael Zaporozhets

Judging Chair UX, UI, Development

Michael is an experienced, cross-functional digital leader, with a broad range of hard and soft skills across software engineering, design, business development & customer experience strategy that have been applied to over a decade of digital experiences. In his ‘off time’, Michael collects vintage guitars and dreams up cocktails for his restaurant/bar, Baba Hawker.

Interesting in judging the 2021 Australian Web Awards?

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