This has been a year of "getting out there" for me and finally making it to this conference will be the cherry in my Manhattan.
So in my excitement for the event I am reading the most recent email from Southby and came across something fairly disappointing. The criteria for which sites submitted to the web contest will be judged completely leaves out the efforts of User Experience Architects, Interaction Designers , Information Architects, Strategist and to a great extent Developers.
Here's what the site says:
"How are submissions judged?
All entries are judged in three criteria:
* Visual Design: The appearance of the site.
* Creativity: Is the website unique? Does it offer something new or never before seen?
* Content: The meat and potatoes of the site. Is the subject matter worthwhile?"
I'm really surprised by this, it seems the community of people who's work won't be considered in the judging is a huge percentage of the people who attend the conference. I don't know this for sure but I don't think it's a conference of only visual designers and writers. Just check out this great list of UX related presentations submitted this year. Top User Experience Design Panels for SXSW Interactive 2010 by Nick Finck
It's true that what I do will contribute to the creativity and appearance of the site but it's more than that. What I do is requires a specific set of skills and it would be great to see how my work would be judged against others.
What other categories would you add to the judging criteria?
I would add:
Information Architecture: how well is the content organized?
Goals: how well does the site achieve it's goals. Are the user pathways clear, seamless and effortless?
Interaction: are to tools and process kick ass. could your grandma sign up, checkout, make the thing?
Landscape: does the site add something new to the landscape it is part of? does it standout and set the business out in front of it's competitors?
Development: does it use awesome technology in awesome ways.
These are just some ideas. I would hope the SXSW folks would give it some thought.