Judging Criteria Guide 2018

These judging criteria are to be used as a guide. It is at the judges’ discretion which entries will proceed to both the shortlist and final stage of the awards.

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 are unlikely to be shortlisted.

  • Accessible – (minimal) accessibility requirements have been addressed
  • Actionable – it should be clear how to achieve tasks/goals that the app/site/service is designed for; functionality should be clear (it is obvious what to press and what not to, etc.)
  • Consistent – consistency of information architecture (IA), visual and interaction design throughout the site/app/service
  • Content – good, engaging content, appropriate for the web/apps/service and its target audience
  • Cross-Platform – works well across multiple platforms (unless specifically designed not to be multi-platform); windows/mac, iOS/Android/WinMo, etc.
  • Evidence – there should be ample evidence of a good research process that has gone into the development of the product
  • 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
  • Information Architecture – the app/site/service should have a clear navigation, understandable labelling, 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 – it should be clear what the app/site/service is supposed to let you achieve and/or what problem it is designed to solve
  • Visual  – the app/site/service should have an aesthetically pleasing visual design

Entries will be marked against each criterion on a scale of 0-4. The guidelines for these scores are as follows:

  • 0: No evidence of this criterion within the project
  • 1: Touches upon this criterion
  • 2: Meets this requirement in a basic/average way
  • 3: Meets this criterion well
  • 4: Demonstrates a good example of how to meet this requirement comprehensively

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

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

Dark UX

For this award, you decide who makes the shortlist! We're inviting you to nominate the best of the worst in UX. If there's a dark pattern that stuck out in your mind - no matter what kind of site or service it is - we want to hear about it.

This award isn't about shoddy UX or not-terribly-exciting visual designs, it's about dark UX patterns being used to deliberately lead users into actions they might not have taken otherwise.

Once the nominations are in, our judging panel will decide which of these nefarious examples of UX deserves the Dark UX Award!

Best Entertainment and Leisure 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?

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

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

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

Best Effect on 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

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

Best AR/VR/IoT 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?

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

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