Syncopated Systems
Seriously Sound Science

Greater Austin Web Developer of the Year™ Award

Syncopated Systems is pleased to announce a new annual competition and free award for the best Web developers in the greater Austin area.


Syncopated's goal in offering the Greater Austin Web Developer of the Year™ – or GAWDY™ – award is to increase awareness of and compliance with industrial standards while recognizing, promoting, and fostering collaboration with and friendly competition between local Web site developers. Complying with these standards allows publishers to maximize their efficiency by reaching their widest possible audiences.

This peer-reviewed competition will greatly benefit both those seeking and those providing Web site development services of reasonable quality and value.

The first annual award is tentatively scheduled to be given in late June 2008, pending the nomination of sufficient qualified candidates.


For the list of nominees, see < >.

For the list of candidates, see < >.

To nominate a site, please first read the list of nominees and the rules below, then submit your nomination via < >.

For the kick-off press release, see < >.

Official Rules

Syncopated Systems intends to make competition for this award as easy and accessible to as many as possible, and so aims to make as few rules as practical.


The award and competition are sponsored by Syncopated Systems, a Texas corporation. Additional sponsors may be added.


Syncopated Systems shall publish all contest rules on its Web site.

This page may be (and has been designed to be) printed for your records, but may not be republished. Instead, please link to the award page at < >.

Consistent with its privacy policy, Syncopated Systems will not publish on the World-Wide Web any electronic mail addresses submitted, nor will it use those addresses for any other purpose unless explicitly given permission to do so by the addressee(s).


Rules may be modified at any time by the sponsor(s) or through majority vote among qualified candidates, as moderated by the sponsor(s).


Each award shall consist of peer recognition and a tangible gift from the sponsor(s). Because the tangible component will be highly personalized, awards are expected to have only negligible monetary value to the recipients, for the purpose of making the awards acceptable under most conflict-of-interest policies that regulate the acceptability of gifts.

The sponsor(s) may, at its (their) sole discretion, offer the award up to once per calendar year and offer additional awards for runners-up commensurate with the number of qualified candidates.

The name and design of the award shall remain the property of the sponsor(s), which shall regulate their use. Winners and qualified candidates shall be granted reasonable license to use the name and design of the award.


A developer may become a candidate for the award by having substantively developed a qualifying Web site, which may include up to one site published by and representing the developer itself.

For a site to qualify, it must meet the following requirements.

  1. The site must be developed, published or hosted by any person or organization based in Texas, though preference will be given to those located in or nearest the city of Austin. (See "Selection of Winners" section below.)
  2. Because markup errors defeat the purpose of advertising by limiting a page's accessibility to the greatest number of potential viewers, the markup syntax of at least the site's home page must pass automated testing using the free World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Markup Validation Service at < > without any errors or warnings reported.
  3. If using cascading style sheets (CSS), the site's home page must pass automated testing using the free W3C CSS Validation Service at < > without errors. (CSS warnings may be acceptable).
  4. The site must not install or execute malicious software (such as that defined at < >).
  5. The site must not break (or induce others to break) applicable laws.

A developer may qualify for the award with more than one qualifying Web site, provided that at least one other person is responsible for the publication for each additional site. For example, for sites of various departments within large companies or governmental organizations, the managers responsible for the publication of each should be named.

Candidates must verify and certify that they are eligible and willing to receive such an award and to be publicly named as candidates for and/or the recipients of the award.

All parties must agree to participate in good faith and to hold harmless the sponsor(s) and other participants.

The sponsor(s), its (their) employees and spouses of those employees are not eligible to receive the award.


Any party may nominate a developer by identifying a qualifying Web site to the sponsor(s).

To facilitate the process, the sponsor(s) may require nominations to be made via the World-Wide Web and reserve(s) the right to remove nominations of non-qualified sites and/or nominations submitted in bad faith and/or via automated means.

Nominators should follow the steps and order listed below.

  1. Read the rules at < >.
  2. Check the list of nominees at < > to make sure the nomination hasn't been submitted already.
  3. Validate the markup of the site's home page with the free World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Markup Validation Service at < >; the site will become a candidate for the award only if its home page passes without any reported errors or warnings.
  4. Validate the style sheet(s) used by the site (if any) with the free W3C CSS Validation Service at < >; the home page should pass without errors, though sites with warnings from this test will be accepted.
  5. Nominate a site via < >. On that page, nominators should provide:
    • the nominator's name and electronic mail address,
    • certification that the nominator has validated the markup of the site's home page,
    • the full location of the site's home page (formatted like "") and name of the person (and organization, if any) responsible for its publication, and
    • the name of the person (and organization, if any) that primarily developed the site and his/her/its home page and/or electronic mail address.
  6. Verify that the nomination has been received and qualified via the list of nominees, which will be automatically updated and displayed after each nomination is made.

Selection of Winners

Winners shall be determined by a popular vote of candidate peers, giving approximately-equal weight to each of the following criteria:

  1. degree of technical compliance with all applicable W3C recommendations, including syntax of markup and any style sheet(s), user privacy policy, and accessibility;
  2. efficacy of communication including interface ease-of-use;
  3. overall visual design and attractiveness of presentation; and
  4. proximity of the developer to Austin, Texas.

Each candidate may vote only for sites developed by another. A candidate having more than one qualifying Web site may apply its votes toward one or more sites.

The selection process may include a brief period of discussion amongst candidates, as moderated by the sponsor(s). If used to facilitate peer review, all recipients must agree not to use electronic mail addresses for any other purpose unless explicitly given permission to do so by the addressee(s).

The election of winners shall be moderated by the sponsor(s), which shall retain final authority in determining the outcome and the right to disqualify votes that substantively fail to meet the selection criteria.

Governing Law and Severability

This contest is governed by the laws of the City of Austin, the State of Texas (Travis County), and the United States of America. If any rule is found to be contrary to applicable law, that rule shall be severed.


This concludes the official rules for the Greater Austin Web Developer of the Year™ award contest.

Best wishes from Syncopated Systems.