And I quote…
Ogden – December 28, 2006 – Ogden based Wadman Corporation has been awarded a 1st Place Marketing Communications Award by Society of Marketing Professional Services, Utah Chapter, for outstanding electronic general for their newly redesigned website.
Criteria used to judge the entries included research and planning; implementation practices; budget and cost data; and measurable results. The award recognizes excellence in marketing communication efforts by SMPS member companies.
Why is this award meaningless?
1. The application process for the award wasn’t well publicized, so the pool of applicants was probably quite small.
2. The association handing out the award has a terrible website.
3. The website receiving the award isn’t very well designed.
Ok, my only evidence that the application process wasn’t well publicized is that I’ve never heard of it. I’ve also never heard of the SMPS. Maybe I’ve been living in a cave, but since I’ve been in this industry for seven years and I used to be a networking fool, looking for any opportunity possible to join an association, I will conclude that this organization does not have many members in Utah and would therefore be unable to draw many applicants into a web design competition.
If I have to explain to you why the SMPS Utah website is a poorly designed website then I’m not sure you’ll ever understand what good design is.
The Wadman website is better than the SMPS Utah website, but it’s still not a high quality site. Here are a few reasons why:
- Logo is low-res, pixelated, blurry, etc.
- Rivets on a pink metal background for the navigation? Please.
- Choppy Flash animation.
- Images in Flash not properly cut out, you can see remaining white pixels everywhere around the cutouts.
- Photos with faded edges.
- I like small fonts, but this is bad usage of a small font.
- See the three navigation links/buttons in the upper right? Why is “what we’re doing” cramped into a small box while “what we’ve done” and “employee login” have larger areas with plenty of space?
- Inconsistency everywhere. On http://www.wadman.com/pastprojects.html some of the rollovers display a slightly larger image while some only change to a color image but don’t change size. If you click through to look at the projects, some of them will allow you to view a larger image, and when you click on the link it opens a new window. Other similar links take you to a new page rather than opening a new window, which made me accidentally close the entire site because I thought I was just closing a new window.
I could go on, but it’s just an ugly site aside from its usability issues. If the web had been around in 1984 this is what websites would have looked like.
Sadly, this is typical of what I see coming out of a lot of web design competitions. There are a few exceptions, such as the AIGA. And I’ve never seen a bad website published in Communication Arts magazine. Being recognized by those institutions mean something to me, but as long as so-called marketing groups or web design associations give awards for amateur design work like this they’ll continue to be ignored by the web designers who actually are capable of producing professional work.
On a final note, why would a magazine post news about a web design competition online and not include any links?