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Rob Nero
Aug 25, 2020
A Love Letter To The Interaction Awards

It is a new Awards year, and while it has been a unique and challenging year so far, the start of a new cycle has us reminiscing about the Awards in years past.

Since the Awards were founded in 2012, the two of us have attended all 10 ceremonies. We have both come to think of the Awards, which are usually held on the final night of the conference, as the crescendo to a week of seeing our international cadre of design friends and heroes. The Awards ceremony has always been our opportunity to end Interaction Week with inspiration. It has been our moment to come together as a community, support each other, and look forward to the next year.

We love this community and Awards program as a way to celebrate Interaction Design excellence across domains, channels, environments and cultures. And so we volunteered to help orchestrate the 2021 Awards. This is our way of expressing our enduring love for this community and the Awards as a way of celebrating each other.

As co-chairs we asked ourselves? 

  • How could we build on what’s worked in the past and make it even better in the future? 
  • Can inspiring Awards programs help our design community and the people who hire us appreciate the range and importance of interaction design?

Just as our vision for the Awards was beginning to solidify, the pandemic changed everything. As COVID-19 has transformed the world, so too has it affected the upcoming 2021 Interaction Conference and the Awards. This will be the first time the Awards will be completely virtual with no physical interaction possible, but we’re using this as an opportunity to improve the Awards process including the interaction, exposure, and perception of the Awards.

Big Diversity

We have ambitious goals for this new Awards year. We knew we couldn’t tackle it alone, so we opened a call for volunteers. We knew from the jump that we wanted a team that represented the true diversity of the global community, so even that initial call was translated into several languages and shared through IxDA’s broad network to reach as many people as possible. We were thrilled to have an international response. We kicked off our first official meeting with a “ways of working” workshop in which we discussed our goals and expectations for the new year, and aligned on ways of collaborating together on the many workstreams.  We also created a new workstream this year focused on Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging (DIEB) to help ensure that everything we do, from the Awards team, to the way submissions are entered and judged, and even in the ceremony and winners, is a reflection of our global community’s diversity. 

Award Submissions are Open! 

Our team has taken great care to cast a wider net so that the Awards can shine a light on the very best work, regardless if it comes in a glossy package or from a shoestring budget. For the first time, entrants may submit their work in ANY LANGUAGE and no video is required, which helps make it easier for all designers to submit their work. If you want to shine a light on the excellent design work you’re doing, head over to the Awards site to submit before the 31 October deadline!

Library of Excellence

The Awards highlight best-in-class Interaction Design for an active community of over 100,000k members worldwide. It culminates with the winners announced during the annual Interaction Week conference and showcased thereafter within the IxDA’s living library of excellence. This year’s Awards team is working on a new Awards website that creates a more interactive experience with this living library of excellence. Stay tuned for this new site in mid 2021. 

There are many other exciting changes underway that we’ll be sharing in this blog over the coming months. For now, we’d just like to say welcome to the 2021 Award program and please be sure to submit your work for recognition. We are here to celebrate the very best work together!

By Award co-chairs, Angel Anderson & Rob Nero


Pictured from left: Rob Nero (Co-Chair), Nasir Barday (Recognition Co-Lead), Nuzi Barkatally (Communications Co-Lead), Angel Anderson (Co-Chair), Diego Pulido (Content/Podcast Co-Lead). All on the 2021 Awards Team.

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