Congratulations to those who won our 2023 national web design and development competition. It was held in Atlanta, GA in June in conjunction with SkillsUSA. In order to compete at the national level, individual teams of two had to win first place in their respective state competitions (also held in conjunction with state SkillsUSA competitions).

Several competitors asked what they can do better to improve their chances of winning in 2024. We offer the following comments from some of the judges. We encourage you to reach out to us with general questions. If you run a state SkillsUSA web competition, we encourage you to reach out to us as well as we are willing and able to help with your state competition. We did that for a number of states in 2023 and would like to help more in 2024.

Judge comments regarding how to improve for 2024.

Planning and process. Tie back to the business goals and the users goals. Be intentional about what goes where in the wireframe and its purpose. Be intentional with what content/imagery/iconagrapy/video are needed and why. Remember, there has been a plethora of research that users do read, the scan. Plan for scannability. Have a plan for mobile, consider even starting with mobile first because the limited space forces constraints and prioritization.

Aesthetics & Usability. Fonts and colors should be appropriate for the client. Spacing between things should be consistent. Headings sizes should create a visual hierarchy that leads through related things and separates unrelated things. Mobile, mobile, mobile! The layout should rearrange appropriately and different screen sizes. Font sizes and margins/padding should adjust.

Accessibility. Font sizes and color contrast. Colorblind appropriate. Not just alt text but appropriate alt text for images. Heading hierarchy.

Programming & Code. Understand semantics and how different elements affect document outline and seo. Know how to use Media Queries effectively. Know how to use flexbox and template layout. Build for isolation/componitization; we don’t build pages these days, we build reusable components in Design Systems and assemble pages. BEM is the most common methodology but there are others.

We are already excited about 2024 and look forward to seeing you in Atlanta in June.