FAQs: Supplemental Information to the Website Design Competition Rules and Additional Criteria Information
If it’s in here, it’s a rule!
What could cause an entry to be disqualified?
Web design software is allowed but entries that use a pre-made template will be disqualified. If you use design software, make sure you begin with a blank page, NOT a template that the software offers. For example, “Go Daddy” or “Weebly” type templates would be disqualified. A contestant may create her own template from scratch when using software. Your software must be listed on page 5 of your site.
May we use HTML code snippets or pre-made elements that we find on other sites?
This question requires a complicated answer. Professional website designers today often use code created by others. Our Resources page even includes sites that offer sources for HTML code. Our Advanced contestants actually need code created elsewhere to fulfill the “social media” requirement. Facebook, for example, provides code that can be copied and pasted into your website to create the Facebook logo.
But here comes the complicated part. This is a website design competition, not a copy & paste competition. If the site from which you learn about HTML code to create a special look is primarily a site for training or instructional or tutorial or educational purposes, AND you cite it on your Credits/Resources page, then that is OK.
Be cautious of sites that have advertisements or links to downloads, in addition to its offer of free code snippets. An example of a site that you should avoid is Glittergraphics. It offers cool effects and graphics but requires no thinking or learning on your part. It has advertisements on it, too, including some with offers that may be inappropriate for teens. It even offers a download of a free photo editor. But clicking that download link may cause malware to be inserted into your computer. It may make other changes, too, such as installing its own tool bar on your computer. You should ask your teacher for advice if you have any questions. REMEMBER: MCWT offers a list of resources and open source downloads. See our Resources (Help!) page!
Is a website entry scored higher if it contains special effects?
Not necessarily. Although a teen may think something is cool or tricky, our judges want to see things that enhance the design of the website and not just decorate it. If your site is selected as a Finalist, you may be asked to orally demonstrate your understanding of any special code you used or modified. Beginners, remember that your category does not allow anything that is animated or that bounces or scrolls!
What can a contestant do to create interesting elements?
What browser and screen resolution will be used by the judges?
First Round Judges will use their own computers and will be instructed to check your site in all current browsers. Free services such as www.browsershots.org can test your website using different screen resolutions, browsers, etc. Judges will not use a tablet to view the Beginner websites. If you are an Advanced contestant, the judges will use a computer to judge your site but will also look at your site on a mobile device to see how it appears.
I know I must be careful of plagiarism. How should sources be noted?
The competition does not have a mandated format for how you should acknowledge your sources. It does, however, require one page of the website for your sources, references, explanations and a description of the classes you may have taken in school and a brief summary of what you learned in the classes. For reference, visit www.plagiarism.org. If a source for an image requires you credit the source on the same page as the image, then you must honor that requirement. Keep in mind that original images will be scored higher than non-original images.
How do I know if an image I find on the internet is copyright-protected?
I am having trouble uploading my site to the contest’s host URL. Help!
- Confirm you are typing www.mcwtwebdesign4girls.net in the host text box in Filezilla. Additionally, check to make sure you are paying attention to the capitalizations in your username and password.
- If necessary, email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for help with troubleshooting.
- To view your website on the web, use the following link: www.mcwtwebdesign4girls.net/XXXXXXXX/index.html
- IMPORTANT! REPLACE THE EIGHT X’S with your own username.
What is that Index Upload deadline on the calendar all about?
The competition volunteer team at MCWT wants all contestants to understand how to upload your site to mcwtwebdesign4girls.net before the final deadline of 8:59:59 PM on the upload deadline day. You can upload an index page that just says “Hello there” if you want to. You must also upload at least one image just to make sure you know how to do it properly. The judges will NOT see your index page. If you can’t figure out the FTP (File Transfer Protocol) using FileZilla, we want you to get help from us in advance of the upload deadline. You could try to upload a fake index page as soon as we send you your username and password in late October. You don’t have to wait until November to try uploading. Again NO JUDGES look at anything you upload until after the final deadline.
Can an ADVANCED contestant have a 15 second flash item AND a 15 second audio/video clip?
No. You’ve got 15 seconds total. If you want to try a 5 second flash and still include a 10 second video, that’s fine. The reason we keep it short is because it takes up a lot of file size on our server. Also, our judges are busy I.T. Professionals who may be judging the sites at their offices. They are interested in seeing that you know HOW to create sound or video or Flash. To do that, 15 seconds is adequate. By the way, Flash is going the way of the dinosaurs because it doesn’t play (isn’t allowed by Apple) on Apple’s iOS devices (iphone, iPod Touch, iPad) for mobile. Remember that you can have JUST animation, if that’s what you want. The rules require (for Advanced) 15 seconds of animation OR audio OR video.
I am having trouble seeing my site online.
Almost 99% of the time, the problem is the names on your files. Open your FileZilla upload page. If your file names show ANY capital letters or ANY spaces, then that is causing the problem. Just rename your files properly and the problem should be fixed. Also, confirm you are uploading your files to their proper locations on the server. Your index.html and all other pages should be all together in your server space and your images should go in the pre-made images folder inside that.
May I use a video from YouTube in my site?
Beginners may not use any type of video on their entries. Advanced contestants are allowed to use video, but it must be original and only up to 15 seconds long. It must be embedded in the website. Judges should not have to click on a link to see your video. Our servers can’t handle long videos from all our contestants, so that is why we limit the length. If you use YouTube to store your original 15 second video, then you may embed it in your site without using a link.
What does this mean: “Advanced contestants must incorporate social media in a link”?
Incorporating links to blogs, social feeds and other social media such as Facebook™, Pinterest™, Twitter™, Digg™, Instagram™, or Tumblr™ demonstrates to the judges how tech savvy you are. Your link may appear as a “badge” (symbol) of the social media website to which you are linking. Remember, though, that we need to protect your privacy. So, please don’t link to your personal pages, unless the page is specifically about how you are creating this website for the competition. You could link to the site’s sign-in page or even to MCWT’s Facebook or Twitter page.
May a Beginner use mouse-over appearance changes on her navigation buttons?
Any mouse-over effect on a Beginner’s site is limited to a change in the color of or the outline of the navigation buttons.
Must contestants use alt tags so people who are blind can hear the text?
Yes, you must have alt (alternate) tags. Alt tags are a “best practices” goal for any website. Without alt tags, a screen reading device would not know what to read to a visually impaired visitor to your site. The screen reader needs a description of what an image is. Example: “photo of Jane Doe in the year 1925” Don’t confuse alt tags with image tags (also known as title tags), which show up when you mouse-hover over an image. Both are required.
May we link to images on other sites?
Any and all images that are visible on your site must be saved in your images folder and linked from there. Specifically, if any image that is visible on your site appears merely because you’ve linked to it on another site, your site will be disqualified from the competition. (As a best practice, a designer should avoid counting on links to third-party sites to achieve the appearance of images on her own site. If the third-party site is altered in any way, the functionality of the designer’s link to it – and consequently the appearance of her own site – may be adversely affected.) Related: Please also refer to the portion of the rules that pertain to requirements for image tags.