The following tips are a guideline to assist you the award applicant to understand what we are looking for specifically. Reading these guidelines will further enhance your understanding of what it will take to win an award. We have included suggestions on what we find desirable and what we find undesirable within a site.
When designing your site, the pages within each of these sections should reflect a natural flow. They should all look like they belong within the same site. We refer to this as uniformity. All pages must have a uniform appearance reflecting a consistent format and theme. Using a different background for every page on your site is not considered uniformity. There are some circumstances where changing your page design for a intended purpose is required. For example: if you are illustrating a poem and the background enhances the poem. The difference need only be subtle but yet effective. The same can be said about the fonts, font colors and font sizes. Try to keep in mind the readability. Ask yourself, is this easy on my eyes or does it give me a headache?
Page composition and the use of white space. The old saying" less is more", holds much meaning. Try to space your text effectively for ease of reading and emphasis of your message. Avoid clutter at all cost. If your page starts to become to long, divide it and make another page. Avoid very lengthy pages if possible. Generally, more than four page down scrolls is too long and should be divided.
Be kind to your viewer. If your navigational tool is located at the top of your page, and the visitor scrolls down your page to view the page. Provide the viewer with "top" links at the bottom of the page. This will prevent the viewer from having to reverse scroll the entire page to return to the navigational tool.
Browser functionality. Site submissions should be functional in the specified browsers. The key word here is functional. We recognize that some sites are designed to look better in one browser than the other one. What we do expect is that all content be viewable without any overlapping of text or images. If the site is only viewable in one and not the other, only a few points are lost. This is not a substantial loss, but it could be the difference between a gold and silver award.
Now on to graphics. Be sure that your images are optimized for quick loading. Be sure to include your height and width and alt tags in your coding. This will also improve your loading times. When optimizing your images do not over-optimize until your images become fuzzy or jagged edged. Show us your original work and remember to give credit to others when using works that are not yours. Check your page loading times. There are also free resources available for this task.
Check your pages for horizontal scrolling. This is often an error of poor page planning. It should be encouraged to check both browsers for this problem.
Web appropriate fonts refer to those fonts that are easier to read within web pages. Some fonts are better used for those pages that offer a printable versions such as New Roman Times. It is generally accepted that more rounded fonts are better used for web pages for ease of reading such as Verdana, Helvetica, Sans-serif and Georgian. We recommend that fonts not be smaller than 8pt nor larger than 18pt.
If you have a flash site/or flash intro page, remember to include a skip intro command line. Give your visitor the option to bypass this page if they so desire.
Lengthy pages beyond four page down scrolls.
Clashing colors of backgrounds and fonts.
The temptation to clutter your pages with animations and too many large images per page. This will only increase the time for your pages to load.
Do not make fonts to small or too large that they shout.
Do not over-use too many Java applets or scripts on one page. This will only increase your loading times.
Do not apply music to your pages that we cannot control or turn off. Please keep in mind that not all of your viewers will find the music a welcome feature. Many visitors will find it distracting and at times even an annoyance. Please be kind and offer this option of a music shut-off device.