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Internet Brothers Plaque for Helpware Excellence
Award Guidelines


If you want to win the Internet Brothers Plaque, pay close attention.

  • The Internet Brothers Plaque is an award primarily for Helpware sites. I am particularly looking for sites that provide free help and assistance in any subject matter, especially if it benefits the Net newbie. This award is given in the spirit of Helpware, first coined by Jim Wilson of the VirtualPROMOTE Gazette. Here is the Helpware pledge:
  • "The Gazette is not free. It is Helpware. Each week you must help one person on the web who has less knowledge than you. Pick a newsgroup posting or an email each week and help that person even if you have to visit their site to find the best answer or do a little research and get back to them. Trust me, this will make you feel better, and will help a lot of people get their sites running better. OK, you're on your honor."

  • Sites with pornography, nudity, racism, or offensive content need not apply. The same goes for sites with excessive profanity. I'm not a prude, but that's not Helpware.

  • Does your site look good? Is your overall layout and design pleasing to the eye? Is it original? If you designed it for a specific browser release, tell me that in your application.

  • Good navigation is very important. Are there links to all your pages on each page? I should never be forced to use my browser's "Back" button to navigate.

  • Is your content interesting, compelling, comprehensive, and useful? Will I want to bookmark your site?

  • Are there any misspelled words and/or grammatical errors? Believe me, I WILL notice. I don't like to see any spelling errors, especially on business sites. I'm picky that way.

  • Do your pages take forever to download? Don't count on me to wait very long. Are you using too many animations just because they're kewl?

  • Did your site cause my browser or operating system to crash? This will put you on the "do not respond to" list.

  • Do you use "height" and "width" attributes in your "img" tags to speed loading and improve formatting?

  • Do you have music? Can I turn it off? Is it worth the extra download time? I like music, but if it plays full-blast or doesn't compliment the page, why bother.

  • You shouldn't have any broken links or missing graphics. Enough said.

  • Are there any "Under Construction" signs? I don't want to see them. Sites are always under construction. If your site is truly not finished, you shouldn't be submitting it for an award yet.

  • Do you keep the content on your site current? If it hasn't been updated in months, it's stale and falling behind everyone else.

  • Are your graphics original? A site comprised primarily of graphics obtained from other sources will not earn the Gold. If your graphics (or scripts, or music, or whatever) are not original, did you give credit where credit is due?

  • Are you stealing bandwidth? If you don't know what this means, go here. If I see that you are stealing bandwidth, I will promptly throw out your application.

  • If you're using JavaScript, does it work properly? I shouldn't encounter any JavaScript error alerts.

  • Is your JavaScript tasteful (like rollovers), or annoying (like pop-up boxes)? I'm very fond of dynamic HTML, by the way.

  • If you're using Java applets, are they really worth waiting to see? For example, I have a clock on my taskbar and on my wall, why do you need to tell me what time it is?

  • If your site relies on Java, do you make this clear on the opening page? If I'm going to have to wait for my browser's Java Virtual Machine to load, it's nice to know that up front.

  • Does any text on your page blink? This is truly annoying. Get rid of it.

  • Is your text readable against your chosen background, and big enough for me to read without my bifocals? I am getting older.

  • Are you using frames? If so, do you use them responsibly? Do your outside links get stuck in your frames? I'm not a frames fan, but if it adds to your presentation, OK.

  • Is there a consistent look to your site, or is each page starkly different?

  • Do you sPeLL wOrDs LiKe tHiS? Don't bother submitting your site if you do.

Most of the above considerations are somewhat flexible...except for some, like #2, #8, and #15. For example: if your pages look fantastic, I will tolerate slow-loading, and I'll wait longer than I normally would. If your page helps me, you really get bonus points. Now then, if I haven't scared you away, go to the requirements page.

Many thanks to Glenn Akiyama of GA's Web Design for the thoughts and concepts behind the guidelines for the Internet Brothers Plaque for Helpware Excellence. Glenn is the first recipient of the Gold Plaque.



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