BCS announces winners of the 2010 MP Web Awards
 
We are delighted to announce the winners of our MP Web Awards.

They were presented at an event at the House of Commons, hosted by the Rt Hon Alun Michael MP. The Awards recognise MPs who have embraced web technologies, and are using them to engage effectively with their constituents.
 
The winners and runners up are:
 
Usability category:
Winner: Diane Abbott MP
Finalists: Jonathan Djanogly MP and Charlie Elphicke MP
 
Engagement category:
Winner: Jim Murphy MP
Finalists: Liz Kendall MP, Charlie Elphicke MP
 
Accessibility category, presented in conjunction with AbilityNet:
Winner: Nick Brown MP
Finalists: Meg Hillier MP, Hywel Francis MP, Derek Twigg MP
 
Social Media category:
Winner: Kevin Brennan MP
Finalists: Nick Clegg MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, James Gray MP
 
In addition, the Institute presented Charlie Elphicke MP with the Overall Winner’s award; the finalists were Rachel Reeves MP and George Freeman MP.
 
Ed Vaisey MP, John Redwood MP and Zac Goldsmith MP were also commended for their websites having scored highly for engagement, social media and usability.

This is the third time the Awards have been run and once again, the winners were dominated by MPs from the Labour Party, despite the fact that every MP was automatically entered into the Awards and an independent panel of guest judges made the selections.

The judging panel consisted of: Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail, Mark Say, editor of Government Computing, Matthew Windle, a member of Youth Parliament and Rachel Gibson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Manchester.

The Awards recognise the best sites across a number of categories. Judges looked for sites that successfully engage, excite, provide information and encouraged two-way communication between MPs and their constituents.
 
In addition, judging criteria took into account ease of use of the site, including navigation, accessibility and use of social media.
David Clarke, Chief Executive Officer, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT says: “I’d like to extend my congratulations to the winners this year. Once again, our MP Web Awards have produced an interesting snapshot of the best use of web technology by MPs today.

“As the Chartered Institute for IT, we know from our research into IT and life satisfaction (Information Dividend: Why IT makes you happier) that the kinds of facilities MPs are putting on the web can help make their constituents feel happier and more empowered. People want to be involved and will use these kinds of tools so MPs who take advantage of web technologies have a real opportunity to create a personal conversation with their constituents. “

Robin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet, the national charity that helps disabled adults and children use computers and the internet by adapting and adjusting their technology, said:

“This was an interesting year in some ways. In the past the winners have had less content on their sites which always makes accessibility more achievable. However, this year, the winners have considerably more on their sites, so in some ways, the standards are being raised. While there is more understanding of accessibility, however, it seems that we still have some way to go on implementation.

“Some sites or pages within sites are currently very challenging to users with certain disabilities.  Common issues which MPs and their designers can look at were; poor labelling of images, incorrect use of headings, and link text that was meaningless out of context.  A number of sites had text that couldn’t be resized which would inconvenience a significant proportion of the population.

“Once again, I’d encourage all MPs to really get to grips with this and allow all their constituents the opportunity to engage with them through web technologies.”

This year’s awards took place at the House of Commons on 15 November.
The Information Dividend: Why IT Makes You Happier report, published September 2010 by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, can be found at: www.bcs.org/infodividend