Torch this website

A bit of a whinge this.

The Design Council is running a design competition for the 2012 London Olympic torch. Exciting! They have a nice page on their website that tells you exactly how exciting it is, and that all you need to do is go to the “CompeteFor” website and register your interest. Of course, we’d love a crack at it.

This is where the trouble begins.

CompeteFor is that kind of website, that you probably have to deal with every day in a big company intranet, or in local government – where almost no concession to the user is made. It’s impossible to navigate, you can’t find the correct entry for the Torch competition – or if you find anything, you’re made entirely unsure that it’s the right thing. It certainly doesn’t sound like the language used on the Design Council page.

And this is what’s disappointing.

You kind of *expect* things like CompeteFor to be that way. We’ve all banged our heads against such screens for years. But I don’t expect for the Design Council to settle for it.

I want some help, guidance or more direct linking. A bit of the ‘service-design’ thinking that they’ve been advocating for years – even if as a triage-like overlay of links and ‘walk-through’ language on their site before they dump you into CompeteFor.

I phoned the Design Council – and spoke to a helpful chap who promised he would find someone to phone me back. In the mean time I have left the comment below on their site.

The deadline is 20th August. Let’s see if I can figure it out before they do.

Hello. The Competefor web service seems to be some kind of initiative test that you’ve devised in order to weed out those without olympic levels of perseverance! It’s not possible from the home page of the service to find easily where the design competition should be registered for, and the registration process for the service itself is quite onerous.

Searching for “torch” leads to three duplicate records for what appears to be an engineering and manufacturing contract, with no validation of whether it is associated with the process you are facilitating or indeed which of the three (if any) should be responded to.

I’d appreciate any help you could give me tracking down how to register interest before the deadline, or indeed if the Design Council could provide a better advertisement for itself by performing some service-design triage on ‘competefor’?


Hurrah! The Design Council responded (only a couple of hours after posting this, good work!)

Hello Matt,

Thank you for your email and for your suggestions.

The Design Council is helping the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games promote the opportunity for designers, engineers and manufacturers to get involved in creating the Olympic Torches for the relay. We are not receiving and assessing entries directly and thus haven’t had the chance to make any impact on the CompeteFor website!

Once you’re on the CompeteFor site, you have to register your details for all LOCOG opportunities. Since you have already done that, you should be able to logon and search for opportunity number #11411323, which is the unique reference number for the Olympic Torch design project. That should provide you with more details of the project and allow you to express your interest in becoming the designer of the torch, and to share your relevant experience. I hope that works for you! If not, CompeteFor has a helpdesk number which should be able to explain their site better than I can! It’s number is 0845 2177804.

Best regards,

Tess Raine

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