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Tips for Creating an Award-Winning Website

We need a new wall.  Awards have been pouring in at Brightfind lately, and we are running out of space on our wall of fame.  We’re pleased to share that we won not one, but three awards for University of Florida Alumni Association’s website.  Brightfind has also been honored for other clients’ sites including: CCIM Institute, University Risk Management and Insurance Association, International Legal Technology Association, and American Bar Association Leisure Sites.  You can find the details on our winning spree below.

At face value, winning awards is exciting. But you are probably asking yourself if the accolades are true honors or the equivalent of a “participation trophy.” In our opinion, it’s a big deal. For example, the Hermes Awards is an international competition administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. Judges look for companies whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry. Brightfind is proud to help set that benchmark.

The next question is how? Not so much how did UFAA_Before_After_Web.jpgBrightfind win a plethora of awards, which we’d be happy to talk about with you ad nauseam, but how can your organization do the same? Here are a few tips to remember before you started:

  1. Looks aren’t everything. That’s more than the advice your mom gave you before prom.  Everyone wants a beautiful site, but in order to be successful, your site needs to be much, much more.   Before design even begins, you must understand who uses your website and what they need from it.  You also need to understand how your site's functions and features will emphasize your value proposition.  Answering all the appropriate strategic questions will lead you to the best design.

  2. Get back to the basics. Web design is becoming more authentically digital—flatter, content-driven, and code-driven (versus Photoshop driven).  And new trends in web design are popping up faster than Nyquist can reach the finish line.  But don’t forget about the basics.  Award winning sites still effectively use the fundamental design elements (think color, shape, texture, space, and form) and essential design principles (we’re talking unity/harmony, balance, hierarchy, scale/proportion, emphasis, and similarity/contrast).  Not a designer yourself?  You can still give great design feedback

  3.  Mobile is not phase 2.  Say it with us now, “Mobile is not phase 2.” From the beginning, consider your mobile site an integral part of the project. Award winning sites ensure the mobile experience is just as crafted as the desktop experience. 

  4. Don’t shoot the Serif.  Or do if it works for you.  Typeface can influence the effectiveness of your message.  Choose wisely and remember to think beyond fonts.   Good typography is scaffolding for good design. Typography includes everything from fonts to point size to spacing between lines and characters and beyond.  Use typography to establish visual hierarchy.  On award-winning sites, good typography is effectively used as a design element throughout, adding personality and structure to the oh-so-carefully written content. 

  5. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.  And even then it ain’t over. Of course you’ll have a go live date.  And we believe that’s worthy of a celebration (cocktail recipes available by request).  However, that does not mean you are done until your next redesign.  Users’ needs and wants change.  Technology changes.  Even company goals change.  If you wait until 2018 for your next redesign, you’re too late.  At Brightfind we recommend that you continuously test, analyze, and improve your website.  This means you’ll be right where you want to be—the trusted source for information in your industry.

Share Your Award-Winning Ideas!

Willing to share your design secrets?  Use the comment section below.

Recent Brightfind Awards

Hermes Creative Awards

  • Platinum (CCIM Institute)
  • Gold (University Risk Management & Insurance Association)
  • Honorable Mention (University of Florida Alumni Association)
  • Honorable Mention (International Legal Technology Association)

Horizon Interactive Awards

  • Bronze (University of Florida Alumni Association)

Communicator Awards

  • Gold Award of Excellence (University of Florida Alumni Association)
  • Gold Award of Excellence (American Bar Association Leisure sites)

These are just our recent wins.  Check out more of Brightfind’s awards.  


Lauren Janik

Written by Lauren Janik