The idea for the Automattic Design Awards was borne out of a desire to honor and grow the fantastic design community within the WordPress ecosystem. We wanted to show how design is thriving in the open-source web, from elegant front-end design to robust tools for creativity.
It’s been thrilling to see all of the great work that has been entered in this year’s Automattic Design Awards. From beautiful sites to compelling tools and solutions, it’s really highlighted how WordPress is facilitating great design for all.
I want to say a huge thank you to our talented team of jurors, who generously volunteered their time to judge the awards. I had the pleasure of working with Rahul Bansal from rtCamp, Leah Buley from InVision, Simon Cooke from Pragmatic, Simon Dickson from Automattic, Monique Dubbelman from BOE Media, HAjj Flemings from Rebrand Cities, Sarah James from 10up, Eriko Kawakami from Automattic, Kat Holmes from Google, Ant Miller from Human Made, Khoi Vinh from Adobe, Joshua Wold from XWP, Cynthia Savard Saucier from Shopify, and Jeffrey Zeldman from A List Apart. Again, a huge thank you to all of you for your time and energy.
Now, to get down to the awards! We have 3 categories and 3 winners in each category. In each category, the jurors have written a short statement as to why they think each winner deserved recognition.
As we reviewed all the entries, we were particularly looking for projects that are Gutenberg ready and accessibility enabled, as well as work that demonstrates:
- Deep user empathy
- Developer led design
- Outstanding UX
- Attention to the details
- Breathtaking content
First up, best site! This award goes to web sites utilizing WordPress to create experiences that are well thought out, easy to use, and visually compelling.
Kit by Peter van Grieken
If a first impression counts, Kit is already a winner. The vibrant colours and overall appearance of the site are very pleasing to the eye. Besides that, the small team of two did a tremendous job incorporating 7 sites into one, without losing the top tasks of the target audience out of sight. All designed and developed in Gutenberg, having inclusive design incorporated in every step, the jury was unanimous about this being the winner in the category best site.
Level Level by Taeke Reijenga
Definitely one of the best WordPress agency websites out there with a clear accessibility statement on it. The design of the site is clean and crisp and totally matches what you’d expect from a modern digital agency. We loved the videos that were sent in with the entry, showing how it all looked in the WP-admin.
Moundarren by Diane Collet
A calm design that definitely fits the subject of the site: poetry. The small team created this site using Gutenberg and made use of the WordPress accessibility handbook, which we totally endorse.
Next, we have the winners for best solution. In this category, we were looking to honor code-based enhancements for WordPress, especially tools that enable others to create great sites.
Block Gallery, Rich Tabor
Block Gallery is a WordPress Gallery built for Gutenberg, allowing you to create galleries, and then switch quickly between gallery types, such as masonry, offset, stacked, carousel, etc.
We chose it partially for finding a need and filling it, but mainly for taking the time to ensure the need is filled in a refined and elegant way. It promises an easy way to create an image gallery, and then delivers on that with simple options for customization.
This type of user experience is a positive one, and should be encouraged. Ensuring little details are done right in the interface helps users spend more time creating content.
Atomic Blocks, Mike McAlister
Atomic Blocks extend the basic blocks that come with Gutenberg, giving writers and editors the option to create grids, calls to action, testimonials, accordions, and several other useful block types.
We chose this plugin as one of our top choices because it shows how the promise of Gutenberg can be pushed even further. This elegant solution and focus on user experience should be an inspiration to all designers and developers and serve as a path to other creative solutions for Gutenberg.
Create-guten-block, Ahmad Awais
Create-guten-block is a zero-configuration dev-toolkit (#0CJS) to develop WordPress Gutenberg blocks in a matter of minutes without having to set up multiple development tools and environments.
We chose this as one of the winners for best solution because it applies a user-centered design approach to the developer experience, identifying the roadblocks to creativity and developing elegant solutions to create a smoother path. We also think this project points in a compelling direction for the future of Gutenberg, where the community can create tools that make it as easy to build a new block as it is to insert one!
Finally, the third category is for best style, where we are looking for strong aesthetic form on par with strong technical function. This award honors sites that are accessible, beautiful, and fast.
Level Level, Taeke Reijenga
The new website for Netherlands WordPress specialists Level Level says everything we wanted to say by organising these awards. Not only does the site embrace Gutenberg, the team showed outstanding dedication by presenting a series of fantastic behind-the-scenes videos explaining how it all works, thus sharing their experience with the wider community. The company specialises in accessibility, so it was no surprise to see consistent scores of 100/100 in our testing, on a site which proves that accessible doesn’t mean cold or bland.
Moundarren, Diane Collet
French publishing house Editions Moundarren has been bringing Chinese and Japanese poetry to an international audience for more than 30 years. Diane Collet’s beautiful and cohesive design echoes the structure and grace of these poetic works, making good use of Gutenberg in plugin form, and rating very highly for accessibility. It’s a reminder that with a platform and community like WordPress at their disposal, individuals and small teams have nothing to fear when it comes to competing with much larger agencies.
Emergence Magazine, Emergence Magazine and Studio Airport
The freshest and most striking design on our shortlist, Emergence hints at the kind of immersive digital experience that becomes possible using block-based development. Although it was developed prior to Gutenberg’s completion, it serves as inspiration for the community as we collectively begin to explore the potential of such tools within WP Core.
That completes our award winners for 2018. Congratulations to everyone for creating work that sets an example for great design in this community. We hope that you will continue to raise the bar as we work to grow and elevate design in the WordPress ecosystem. I can’t wait to see what amazing things might be in store for next year’s awards!