My intranet is up for an award

My firm, Mills & Reeve, is up for an award for its intranet. Now, I designed and built the intranet, and I’m really rather proud of it. So I thought we were in with a good chance of winning said award on technical merit. However, it turns out that the process for this award is that it’s awarded based on number of votes cast, not on any kind of judgement as far as I can tell. (I might be wrong about this, but I don’t think I am.) Needless to say, I was somewhat disillusioned by this; we’re not a very big firm, so it’s unlikely we’d be able to muster up lots of support from our clients or suppliers like some of the larger firms can. Again, the underdog gets stamped on. So, here’s my plan. The M&R intranet, because I built it, was built entirely around open technologies; it’s shipping XML around, it’s using structural semantic HTML, it’s styled with CSS (and the css-design mailing list helped me with some of the finer details!), it’s cross-browser. It’s not the typical works-in-IE-only, font-tags-everywhere, JavaScript-heavy design, it’s not using some horrendous overpriced “portal” product or content management system. It’s all as open as I can make it. It’s a critical part of the firm’s knowledge management, and it really helped to explain to people here that we can build systems without payng consultants to do it or buying boxed products for a fortune. While I appreciate that none of you here have seen this system, neither has anyone else outside the firm—it’s our intranet, after all. So the fact that there’s a category in this award for intranets obviously means that people are supposed to vote on it sight unseen. Leaving aside how silly this is, my plea is this: if you support systems being developed using open technologies and modern web design techniques, and you’re opposed to the perception that companies must buy overpriced overengineered overcomplex “software solutions” to do good work, then vote for Descport, the Mills & Reeve intranet, in the “Best knowledge management / information portal” section of the 2004 Inbrief e-Loties awards. There’s also more detail on the awards themselves, and the shortlist of candidates for each award.
If your reaction here is indignation that I might even consider asking you to do such a thing, then I pretty much agree with you, and I certainly won’t take it askance if you refuse entirely and never read here again. My only defence is, “this is how this award is won“. If it were on pure technical merit, I’d be disappointed if we hadn’t already won.

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