Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Interface Design Contest: $ 1,500 To Make Good Look Better - The MasterNewMedia Design Challenge

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Interface designer? Information design guru? Online identity and branding director? UI geek?

I am looking for you!

Photo credit: Dragan Trifunovic

Yes, the MasterNewMedia Design Challenge is open.

Starting today, I am launching a web design contest open to anyone capable of designing with valid XHTML+CSS.

What is it all about?

Challenge your design skills and re-design the basic look and feel for

This is a web design contest where the mission is to propose an innovative new look for this site, and the prize is a nice amount of cash and an opportunity to work together with me, Robin Good, on multiple online design projects at least for the next six months.

The mandate is to submit a redesign proposal for home page and for the layout of individual article pages.

The goal is to do this by giving priority to accessibility, legibility, information design elements over decorative, uninformative "chrome".

Here more details:

Why a contest?

Photo credit: Marja Flick-Buijs

a) Choice. I want to find the best possible match out there and feel this will be a good way to get a good selection of proposals in front of me. I see this as the best way to see some good design work without having to run multiple classifieds and having to interview an endless list of candidates.

b) Focus. By doing a contest instead of a traditional candidate review I can demand that applicants showcase their talent applied to a very specific goal: my site. This further allows me to compare each designer talent to a common reference.

c) Viral reach. A web event, when properly used, has a lot more traction and reach than any Craigslist ad or job announcement on your preferred monster job list. People email and talk to each other about a new contest to design a popular site, but they don't do so much with the classified announcements they find.

d) Time. I want to collect as many proposals in the shortest time possible and select the winner from them. A contest makes it easier to synchronize candidates submissions within a short time span and make a final selection in a relatively small time frame.

e) Sharing. Because I want to "showcase" the design works that will be submitted. By creating a contest and showcasing all of the submissions (and the people behind them) I can enable some talented visual designers to get some extra reach and exposure for their work while I could be having a much easier way at selecting what I like. Content contributed by applicants will provide by itself value as the contest gallery that will grow out of it will remain a reference of web designer samples for others to peruse.

What is the prize?

Photo credit: Alen Stojanac

1) $ 1,500 in cash to the winning designer.

2) A design contract for a period of at least 6-months to work on and on other new Robin Good's web-based projects, including:

3) The winner will be interviewed and showcased on and

4) The winning design prototypes, credentials and reference information will be kept on permanent display on Robin Good's MasterNewMedia web site.

Who will judge?

Photo credit: Julie Elliott

I, Robin Good, will be the one and only judge of this design competition.

What criteria will I use the select my favorite?

I like minimalist, essential and highly usable designs.
I also like color and richer design layouts.
Even though the two may appear to be at the extreme opposite ends of an imaginary design continuum, what I seek is design that is highly rational, minimalist, aware of information-design principles, while at the same time capable of utilizing color and richer design components toward the creation of a rewarding and effective user experience.
Here are some references:

Simple - Minimalist
Microsoft Start -
delicious -

Colorful - richer design
CNet -

How do I participate?

Photo credit: Bob Smith

To participate you need only to submit your design proposal as a viewable set of web pages accessible via a standard URL to the official MasterNewMedia Design Challenge submission page.

Your proposal will need to reach me before February 15th 2006 midnight GMT.

Max number of submissions:
You can submit as many alternative proposals as you like under your own name.

Design assignment (what to focus on):

Photo credit: Piotr Sikora

1) Re-design of two key pages
a) home, (see:
b) individual article (see:

Let me further clarify. This is a contest, not a design assignment to redo my site. It is as if you HAD TO redesign my home and internal pages and create a design proposal for them.
In a real setting several concerns would have to be addressed before even considering the drafting of new page layouts. Content organization, components needed, features, etc.
Here instead you need only to play with what is already there to create a new design proposal around it.

2) Upgrade identity/logo
Upgrade existing Robin Good logo to integrate the word "Sharewood"
(as in "Robin Good from Sharewood")

3) Utilize new tagline
"News, tools and ideas to communicate effectively with new media technologies"
(to replace: "What communication experts must know")

4) Improve
a) RSS and newsletter subscription elements
b) Support and access to multiple language editions

5) Integrate
Individual articles today should be thought of as mini self-sufficient micro-sites made up of only one page. How can then these pages be better conceived as to provide maximum reward to those arriving there from search engine results pages?
How can you best integrate, on each individual article page the following components which are already used on my site?:
a) Amazon 4-6 book references
b) News feed (headlines and excerpt) on same article topic
c) 4-6 related articles from Robin Good's site network (title and excerpt + date)
d) Effective AdSense integration
e) A dedicated ad section strip to accommodate multiple advertisers and sponsors
f) Listing of other content Categories that can be visited

Technical requirements:

Photo credit: Ariusz Nawrocki

Fast loading pages
Home page template (without fresh content) max size: 65 KB
Individual Article (without fresh content) max size: 45 KB
Printability of articles content.

  1. CSS-based design

  2. Valid XHTML code

  3. Viewable on FF, IE and Safari

  4. Compatible with screen resolutions ranging from
    800*600 to 1600*1280

What are you waiting for?

For any further information feel free to contact me directly via email at Robin.Good[at] or on Skype (my ID is "robingood" - make sure that when you request to be added to my contacts you specify MasterNewMedia Design Challenge as a reference)

Readers' Comments    
2006-12-14 02:13:01

Robin Good

Hi Jeremy,
thanks for your good questions.

Yes the deadline has long gone but we didn't find any really talented designer like we needed to. I awarded three money prizes and paid them all, but I chose not to work with those who won after having given them some test opportunity. I am in fact to this day searching for a talented web designer who could work for us for an extended (if not unlimited) period of time.

Re the submissions I have received you can still see a few right here:

2006-12-13 21:24:42

Jeremy Moseley

So what ever happened with this contest? I see that the deadline was February 15th, but it appears that a new design was not used. I also could not find the page on your site where you display all the submissions.

2006-01-29 23:48:59

Robin Good


there is no age limit.

And yes, if you don't win, you are free to do what you want with your original designs.

2006-01-29 22:55:15


Is there an age limit or minimum age? I'm under 18, but would be interested in participating, if only to gain experience.

Secondly, if we don't win, are we free do do what we wish with the template we've created?

posted by Robin Good on Thursday, January 26 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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