Best visual design
This category celebrates how things look. From that first impression you get from a site to the deeper feeling of rightness that stunning-looking sites exemplify. It's also about an appreciation and understanding of the web medium - the constraints, the challenges and the possibilities. Not to mention doing all this in a pixel-based medium that needs to be transmitted over the internet.
Best user experience
Sometimes websites feel right. They greet you nicely, they know what you need and they provide it with a minimum of fuss and pomp. Other websites have a personality that carries through the whole experience of interacting with them. And you're happy to come back because you like that personality.
This category is about the whole experience you have as a user on a website and will incorporate aspects like information architecture and sign-up and checkout processes.
Best use of HTML & CSS
HTML is at the heart of the web and one of the reasons it's been so successful. The battle for web standards has been a long one and it's one that's still ongoing. We're firmly of the camp that semantic, well-structured HTML is important and useful and should be applauded when found.
This category concentrates on the markup and the CSS used in a website. It celebrates things being done well and boundaries being pushed.
The promise of the web is that it can be universally accessible. That's major. And transforming of so many lives. Yet, sadly, accessibility is all too often ignored.
We want to hightlight the possibilities and achievements of people doing their best to make websites accessible to all.
Best content (corporate)
Content is what matters. Regardless of everything else, it's the content that people come to sites for. So we're here to celebrate when it is done right. When the site is a delight to read and the content's appropriate for the audience and some obvious thought has gone into what content is actually included on the website.
Best content (personal)
This category is for sites by a single person or small group of people collaborating in a non-commercial capacity. It's for blogs and personal sites, podcasts, hobby sites. It's for obsessives, fantasists, realists, humourists and the myriad of people who make the web such a wonder and joy.
The web has always been driven by innovation and a desire to explore and push the medium as quickly and far as possible. We want to applaud those people who aren't satisfied with the status quo and are driven by the need to do things better, differently or that just haven't been done before.
We're keeping this category quite broad, but like beauty, we'll know innovation when we see it.
Best web application
We're defining a web application as a place where users interact directly with an online application. It's something that involves data - storing, searching, retrieving, displaying, mapping, and mashing data. The application could be a part of a website or encompass an entire social tool where every aspect is an application.
This category is about elegant solutions to how this data is interacted with.
Best mobile application
This category is for excellent use of mobile technology, either using location-based services, SMS or native application frameworks (e.g. the iPhone SDK, Java ME, etc). It is for recognizing understanding and applying solution to users in the mobile context, helping them to access and interact with the information around us in real time.
Best mobile website or web application
This category is for websites or web applications designed and developed for mobile web browsers using semantic and well written XHTML and CSS. The mobile web is all about progressive enhancement and doing it well can be more challenging than the most complicated desktop site. We want to applaud those who focus on doing it well.
Most outstanding website
This is the supreme ONYA award and is where a website as a whole will be judged. Websites will be judged on a range of criteria and be expected to display excellence in all of these.