E-Vermont launches beginner friendly website design contest to promote digital literacy

NEWS RELEASE

Sept. 25th, 2012

Contact:
Helen Labun Jordan, e-Vermont Project Director
(802) 225-6091, [email protected]

MONTPELIER, VT – The e-Vermont Community Broadband Project is announcing the 2012 Beginner Friendly Website Design Contest (e4vt.org/contest).

This contest is part of e-Vermont’s ongoing work to close the digital divide in Vermont. Participants are asked to submit their ideas for ways to make websites more beginner friendly, with entries judged on innovative thinking — no computer programming knowledge required. The contest invites Vermonters who are comfortable online to look at that online world through the eyes of a beginner. It invites Internet beginners to look at the same world through the eyes of a website designer. Everyone’s ideas are welcome.

“The question of whether websites are easy for beginners to use isn’t just an issue of convenience,” says e-Vermont Project Director Helen Labun Jordan. “Critical information is going online. Think about finding a job today. Job searching is online, job applications are online, applications for unemployment benefits are online. . .and that’s before you get to whether the job itself requires computer skills.” She notes this shift is happening across many areas.

“People who’ve avoided computers in the past are discovering they need to get online,” Labun Jordan says, “So now is the time to take another look at websites that are going to be those beginners’ entrance into the online world – making that entry easy is part of the answer to building digital literacy in Vermont.”

Labun Jordan’s organization, e-Vermont, helps communities make best use of online tools, whether it’s in business, education, civic engagement, community connections or other areas of rural life. Basic digital literacy is one component of that work. The project began with a stimulus grant from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. More information is at www.e4vt.org

The Vermont Department of Libraries is a partner in e-Vermont and in presenting the contest.

“Public libraries have become the gateway to the Internet for a lot of people. We’ve been pleased to work with e-Vermont over the last two years to support more computer equipment and online services for libraries, and to launch a program with the Community College of Vermont that places college student interns in libraries to help with using the Internet,” says Christine Friese, Assistant State Librarian for Vermont, but she notes that more needs to be done. “This contest will bring more people into the conversation about digital literacy. . . and we look forward to seeing the creative ideas it produces.”

The ideas generated as part of the beginner friendly website design contest will inform broader digital literacy initiatives in Vermont.

The contest deadline is November 12th. The grand prize winner will receive $2,000 and a free multimedia advertising campaign with the Burlington Free Press valued at $500. Details are found online at e4vt.org/contest

e-Vermont thanks our contest sponsors: VSECU, the Vermont Technology Council, Free Press Media, and the Vermont Department of Libraries. Please contact Helen Labun Jordan at (802)-225-6091 or [email protected] with addition questions.

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