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Iron Chef of Web Design Challenge

“Iron Chef” Web Design Challenge

The Digital Kitchen, Carlyne Lynch

Like it’s namesake that focuses on Japanese cooking, Iron Chef, The World Organization of Webmasters (WOW) held a cook-off at Seybold Seminars, San Francisco. The Web Design Challenge “Iron Chef’ battle showed the viewers, audience, and participants a winning combination plate. The cuisine: conceive and create a working website for a non-profit including— graphics, navigation, three to five pages of content, special features that they can adequately plan for, describe the site to the judges, present to the live audience, and utilize the predetermined (but undisclosed) secret ingredients.

The disclosed website ingredient’s were judged on:
design appeal (25%),
quality of markup and code (25%),
accessibility (10%),
website optimization (10%),
usability (10%),
contestant presentation (10%),
and audience experience (10%).

The interactive session combined performance art, entertainment, and requirements planning. The secret ingredients: usability for needs of the client’s audience and edu-tainment.

The Iron Chef Teams

Team: 4What Interactive, Bonita Springs, Florida: Tim Davis, Duane Dehnert, Phillip Monahan

Team: Art Institute of California, San Francisco, CA: Shadi Moussa, James Conners, Daniel Martinez

Team: Devline eBusiness Architects Inc., Canada: Emily Rothwell, Diana Wang, Haw Young Oh

Team: Lazlo Systems, San Francisco, CA: Max Carlson, Jerry Tang, Mark Jenkins

Team: Resolve Digital, San Francisco, CA: Barry Harrison, Apolo Pena, Raleigh Habersberger

“The WOW Iron Chef of Web Design Challenge provides a showcase where competing teams can prove their skills in an entertaining and upbeat environment while carrying a message of excellence forward,” explained WOW Executive Director Bill Cullifer.

The Battle

The digital kitchens were opened at 10:00 am and from 10:30 am – 2:30 pm planning, design, and deployment began. Before the battle could end, a bomb threat emptied the building. Lukily, most competition hand ended but forced the judging to continue the next day. The guest panel of judges conducted their interviews and final presentations by the contestants were completed Thursday morning. The judges that determined who was victorious and who was vanquished were: Johanna Rivard,; Brent Norris,; Susan Allison, National Cancer Institute; Cia Romano, Interface Guru; Kelly Goto, Goto; and Porter Glenning, Cerebellion Design.

The Winners!

Devlin eBusiness Architects

The all woman team of Devlin eBusiness Architects, from Canada, out dueled the other four American teams. Emily Rothwell, Haw Young Oh, and Diana Wang were the only women in the contest and the only team to provide the judges with a process and plan. “They not only called the client to confirm their needs, but demonstrated creativity in applying those needs to the site”, said Susan Allison, one of the five judges. “It was disconcerting to have most of the teams not contact nor focus on client requirements.” The challenge for the Devlin team was to create a site for the USS Arizona Memorial Fund that allowed visitors to make a donation. Devlin plans to meet with the organization and further develop the site to meet other requirements. Bill Cullifer, executive director of WOW commented on how “the teams were focused and very knowledgeable and clearly demonstrated professional skills to the Seybold community”. For more information, please visit

The World Organization of Webmasters is a nonprofit professional association. This web design challenge, in conjunction with Seybold Seminars, and WOW’s Web Design and Development Conference, provided a gourmet feast of learning opportunities. The two-day track provided sessions in managing content, design, development teams, usability, project management, CCS for navigation, design politics, accessibility and even a future vision. The seminars started on Monday and finished on Tuesday, with the Iron Chef competition occuring Wednesday and extended to Thursday. The profession of web development took a giant leap forward with this excellent two day event that featured an event-in events program. WOW provides certification, member services, employment, and education to practicing Web professionals worldwide. For more information, please visit

Carlyne Lynch
Graphic Communication World
Cooperative Contract Solutions