Wow. ‘Underwhelmed’ comes to mind. The entries for the W3C redesign contest are in, and it’s pretty clear that the goals of the contest weren’t entirely met.
The theory: redesign W3.org to be far more attractive, useful, and organized than its current incarnation. Not officially sanctioned by the organization itself, but still a worthwhile goal.
In web design there are three camps these days: the amateur hack (who rarely cares about standards), the hardcore W3 geek (who rarely has a lick of design talent), and the designer (who creates beauty that seldom validates). The contest represents the second category in spades. It’s obvious the latter category, the people who were supposed to enter, didn’t.
Let’s be clear — pure CSS and XHTML design can be quite effective, but due to the boxy nature of DIVs and the lack of diversity in available fonts, they all tend to be unified by a certain style. There’s a distinct look to CSS–based design, and while some are far better than others, it’s generally not hard to tell at a glance whether a site was mocked up in Photoshop first or coded from the ground up.
So it seems that the designers this contest targetted collectively shrugged it off. Why? Lack of exposure? It hit K10k and others. Lack of interest? Quite possibly. Many designers would rather work with the uniform consistency of Flash than the tricky tinkering of CSS. Lack of payoff? The prizes weren’t exactly drop–what–you’re–doing–and–bang–off–an–entry calibre. Whatever the reason, it happened.
Pretty high and mighty position for someone who didn’t submit an entry? Maybe, but am I wrong? I’d have liked to enter, in hindsight, but in my case I just had better things to do.
There are a few great entries though, this one and this one are quite strong, and while busy, even this one is a step up from the rest. Familiar with the work of about half the judges on the list, I’d guess I have picked at least two of the top three finishers. My money is on Radu.