Bliink — Web Design Contest

Bliink is a web design competition by Microsoft which opens for registration on the 5th of January. It’s nationwide, so expect some good competition. Qualified competitors get a free copy of Microsoft Expression web-design suite (>$100) for the competition (read: for free).

To enter you must be a US citizen and a student between 13 and 19 years old, working on a team of 2-4 people. And you need an ‘educator’ as a mentor; a teacher to oversee things. That’s it.

According to their website:

Web sites will be evaluated on the following criteria by a panel of judges: Creativity/Original Ideas (25%), Communication (20%), Organization/Navigation (20%), and Visual Presentation/Design (35%).

Points will be taken away for non-functioning aspects and copyright violations.

To get the Microsoft Expression suite for the contest, have your teacher email to register your school for the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance (MSDN AA). Once your school is registered, you can also download whatever you want from Dreamspark. As a competing student, you should install all of this stuff on a school computer. But the Bliink website explicitly says that you’ll be allowed to install all of this on your home computer as well, and for free.

This is a pretty legit contest. Microsoft basically wants you to make a real website. You’re allowed to use third-party content (stuff you didn’t make) as long as you get permission and don’t violate any copyright/intellectual-property laws. That means cite everything properly.

The only downside I can find is that you have to use the Expression suite to make the website. Coupled with the fact that one of the conditions of the contest is 100% ownership of the website you submit, this probably means the benefit to Microsoft is that they’ll use the winning websites to say, “look what a bunch of awesome high school students did with Expression; buy our software so you can do it too.” But that’s not a big deal.

Talk to your guardians, your friends, and your teachers about getting the ball rolling. Expect updates in just under a month.


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