When is the 2020 Deadline?
In 2020, the deadline will be Monday, June 22nd. We can also accept late entries (with a late fee) during the following week. But if you’re going to be late, check with us first. You must pay the entry fee by the deadline and it is not refundable if you still don’t get your entry in on time. It is very difficult to assign judges when all the entries are not in on time, and causes considerable chaos. (By the way—the deadline is based on when we receive the entry, which includes your entry form, payment and essay if you are sending one).
Do We Have to Write an Entry Essay? Not Anymore, We now have an online form
You don’t have to submit an essay any more, but you still can, if you choose to. We now have an online form that essentially asks the same questions that the essays did. The form is substantial and may take a while to fill out, but it is easier than writing an essay. You can still submit an essay if you choose, and then your entry form is very short. Essays/form responses are a chance for you to explain your customers, the practical problems you faced, and your company priorities. Note that the information you provide in your essay or the online form represents 20% of the total points the judges can award for your site. Our judges are all truly independent and some of them are probably not familiar with your products and customers. Your essay/form responses help to get more favorable treatment from the judges, so it is probably worth more to you than just the points allocated. Since this is the first year that we have offered the online form, the judges will probably still have a preference for the essays, so they may provide a small advantage.
What’s the Purpose of the Challenges Question?
This section explains how well you used your resources—people, money, technology—and your problem-solving insights. Many companies lose points on this section, by the way, by submitting public relations happy talk (“we strive to make our customers even more delirious with joy”). If you overhauled the site to fix lousy navigation or a defective search engine, say so.
What’s the Purpose of the Three Key Features Question?
This section helps the judges identify features or areas of the site that they should look at most closely. Its a good idea to use this section to explain why you feel these features are exceptional, and to supply metrics and other background information for context.
How Long Can the Form Responses/Essay be?
Our judges used to complain that essays were sometimes too long to read. So were now imposing a strict limit of twelve pages (including a cover page) for the entire essay. Screen shots and charts should be placed with the text, and count as part of the twelve-page total. If you can’t describe your biggest challenge and three key features in this space, you’re probably trying to cram too much into what should be a simple document. For form responses, please try to answer the question with a paragraph. The longer ones may take a page or two.
Can We Write About Something Other than Challenges and Key Features?
Only as explained in the scoring. Site metrics and site improvement processes are important parts of the scoring of the essays/forms. Please read these sections carefully to understand their importance in the scores. These components act as an open-ended template. The judges often refer to the essay/form responses in assigning scores to all areas of your site, so help them to score your site effectively.
How do We Submit an Entry?
Please pay for your entry online using Submit Your Site under the AWARDS pull down menu. Once you have paid, you will get the entry form you choose (with essay/without) emailed to you. Please submit your entry form and essay to firstname.lastname@example.org. Entry essays must be submitted as a two electronic files, both PDF and Word versions. The entry form page should be in a separate file, also in PDF and Word format. You can find more information about this by checking the Entry Form.
How Much Does it Cost? How do We Pay the Entry Fee?
Small companies (under $100 million in total corporate revenues) pay $900, medium-sized companies (over $100 million and less than $1 billion) pay $1,200, and large companies (over $1 billion) pay $1,500. Please pay for your entry on our website at Submit Your Site via credit card. If your company insists on mailing a check, please start that process with sufficient lead time to allow it to reach us by the deadline. We also accept electronic funds transfer, but again, allow sufficient lead time to get it through purchasing. If we are not already an approved vendor, this can take months (not because of us, because of your purchasing).
Our Site is Password-Protected. What do We do?
We’ll ask you to provide a generic password that we can pass on to the judges for the duration of the competition. (A generic password is easiest for us to administer, because judges are assigned randomly.) We also strongly encourage you to TEST the password you submit with your entry— every year we’re given passwords that don’t work, and this makes our judges cranky. That is not a very good way to keep judges positive about your website.