April 13th, 2012
A team of top journalists met earlier this year at Ball State to chose the winners in SND’s Best of Digital News Design competition. They came from Madrid, New York, St. Louis, Toronto, London, Washington DC and Chicago.
The judges are: Jonathon Berlin, Chiqui Esteban, Brian Ellcierto, Tyson Evans, Jeremy Gilbert, Jennifer George-Palilonis, Sara Quinn, Joey Marburger, Ryan Mark, Rob Schneider, Will Sullivan, David Wright, Chrys Wu and Ben Wuersching.
Leading up to the judging we asked members to submit nominees for the World’s Best Designed Website and apps. After carefully considering that list and those submitted by entries into the SND’s Best of Digital Design competition, the judges have selected one website as this year’s World’s Best Designed for 2011:
That site is the BostonGlobe.com which decisively raised the bar for digital news design with its embrace of responsive design.
Congratulations to the Globe staff.
- Meet the judges here.
- See the full list of digital winners here.
- Check out a searchable database of the print winners here.
- Read about last year’s World’s Best sites and apps here.
- Read the judges’ overall statement and Special Recognition honors on the jump.
Interaction design is maturing rapidly. As the craft evolves news designers have not been left behind. The best of the work challenged long-standing industry conventions making better use of data, employing responsive techniques and overcame the limitations of content management systems.
• Our priority, storytelling: Designs focused on storytelling, stressing form over function and making the most of limited resources were rewarded. Winning work needed to be more than just beautiful, it needed to be journalistically sound with great storytelling and editing. Many of the best entries took known narrative tools and stretched their capabilities resulting in richer, more compelling stories. Other entries created new ways of telling stories that will be useful not just in a single moment but going forward.
• For web entries: Web-based design seemed to be maturing, designers are finding ways to make experiences richer and more inviting but the news apps viewed in the contest did not always measure up to these web experiences. The range of tools and techniques in the market today is impressive, even overwhelming. It is not surprising that the largest news organizations most often struck the right balance between exploring new storytelling possibilities and polished presentations. But the news-viewing public is blind to circulation/traffic and staff size. Small- and medium-sized organizations also showed exciting, new ideas but often fell short when it came to execution.
• For mobile entries: Although there were many intriguing mobile and tablet entries these apps did not seem to universally embrace the touch-medium. More needs to be done to make news apps the polished equivalent of the web-based entries. Touch-based news apps should take special care with multimedia elements. These apps should better fulfill their different place in the lives of their users and address specific needs, not just replicating print or web-based experiences. The focus on the user, awareness of load times, intuitive interfaces and touch interaction and crash-resistance of innovative news tools far outpaces what most news organizations are doing themselves. More experimentation, more awareness of the user, is needed from the companies that produce the news.
• Our ambitions: The entries receiving the highest awards in this competition needed not only to be innovative, but practically peerless. For an entry to achieve a gold medal or the honor of World’s Best Designed, it must combine a rare blend of vision and execution. Many entries were strong in one area, but not both.
The news designer in 2012 is a sophisticated storyteller with a world of tools at their disposal. The work we saw was inspiring and we are eager for the innovations that await. All designers must continue to strive to keep the users at the center of our work and provide them with clean, precise ways to understand the news.