Dear Arts Canada, Your Website is Broken

by Art Fag City on May 22, 2009 · 20 comments Events

art fag city

Canadian art websites in the Toronto area seriously need to kick it up a notch.  A survey of search results found when preparing for my visit to Toronto today (follow me on twitter here).  The result: exasperation.

  • Greener Pastures Contemporary Art.  I know this gallery exists because it shows up on Google maps, but nothing more.  Its website displays the above screenshot.  Good luck getting your visitor numbers up guys.
  • The Royal Ontario Museum.  No doubt an homage to popular splash pages of the late nineties– this website has sound!   Let’s get this turned off.  Not all of us work from home.
  • MKG127.  Unless I was given the wrong name, this gallery has no website or Google listing.  I’d like to visit it, but I have no means of  finding it. UPDATE: I had the wrong name. Their website has been updated (and the site is fine).
  • Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).  This website is a vast improvement on their previous one, which barely managed to provide accessible contact information. Even if it is unattractive (it’s never too early to redesign that redesigned logo), at least it works.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA).  Splash pages with the word “launch” scare me, because they suggest a lot of Flash.  To MOCCA’s credit, there’s less on the site than I anticipated, though any image a surfer would want to send to a friend the museum prevents by embedding it with this program.  Also, why make users open a PDF press release when we could just view it in html?
  • The Power Plant. Here’s a really bad idea:  Create a splash page first directing all visitors away from your site and onto Powerball, “The Original Contemporary Art Party” (Thursday May 28th for those who want to attend).  I’m not entirely sure why this event is so important, but an array of corporate sponsors logos blind a visitor at first sight, taking up an enormous amount of web real estate.  It’s very tacky.  Should users eventually arrive at the Power Plant website, a sound effect goes off every time they scroll over individual frames.  It’s annoying, and site already uses rollover images so it’s also unnecessary.  All header text is too small.
  • While I’m complaining:  Although not art centric, The Globe and Mail website still sucks. For some reason their infographics department likes to make it seem as though there is very little on the homepage at any given time.  Compare the New York Times website to that of the Globe and Mail.  There’s only one winner here.  Notably, all Globe and Mail archives are for pay only.  If they want to increase their traffic and ad sale revenue, this isn’t a good idea, at least in the short term.
  • Art Metrople.  Good job (sort of).  Their text is too small, but I’m willing to look past that, on account of the fact that Google indexes its site, which contains no embeddable mp3s or Flash. However, it’s far too hard to find its address. Remember, the Internet is a phone book – contact information should be on the front page of any site.
  • Rita

    MKG127 is about a year old. They’re on Ossington Avenue between Queen and Dundas, if you’re going. Lots of galleries around Ossington/Queen, near MOCCA. Alo in 401 Richmond, check out Prefix ICA is always good, YYZ, Gallery44.

  • Rita

    MKG127 is about a year old. They’re on Ossington Avenue between Queen and Dundas, if you’re going. Lots of galleries around Ossington/Queen, near MOCCA. Alo in 401 Richmond, check out Prefix ICA is always good, YYZ, Gallery44.

  • http://gabriellemoser.blogspot.com Gabby

    MKG127 is excellent and does have a pretty reliable website here: http://www.mkg127.com/

  • http://gabriellemoser.blogspot.com Gabby

    MKG127 is excellent and does have a pretty reliable website here: http://www.mkg127.com/

  • http://www.niknaz.net niknaz

    ha! afg: you’ve just encountered the phenomenon of artist-run versus commercial in a scene that is full of art and artists. most galleries in toronto (and canada for that matter) are artist run centers (centres). as i’m sure you’ve unearthed, toronto is not a saturated commercial market, thus news travels differently. instant coffee is a place to find shows: http://www.instantcoffee.org and akimbo: http://www.akimbo.biz

    perhaps you’ll find those websites un-broken and navigable.

    and for your readers unacquainted with the tdot, toronto is a goldmine (though they don’t think so) of art that is actually subsidized by the gov’t. every canadian artist i’ve ever met has gotten at least one grant. wooh, what a concept.

    have fun in toronto. if you go to interaccess.org on ossington just above queen, tell ‘em niknaz’s life is not the same without them.

  • http://www.niknaz.net niknaz

    ha! afg: you’ve just encountered the phenomenon of artist-run versus commercial in a scene that is full of art and artists. most galleries in toronto (and canada for that matter) are artist run centers (centres). as i’m sure you’ve unearthed, toronto is not a saturated commercial market, thus news travels differently. instant coffee is a place to find shows: http://www.instantcoffee.org and akimbo: http://www.akimbo.biz

    perhaps you’ll find those websites un-broken and navigable.

    and for your readers unacquainted with the tdot, toronto is a goldmine (though they don’t think so) of art that is actually subsidized by the gov’t. every canadian artist i’ve ever met has gotten at least one grant. wooh, what a concept.

    have fun in toronto. if you go to interaccess.org on ossington just above queen, tell ‘em niknaz’s life is not the same without them.

  • http://neditpasmoncoeur.blogspot.com Leah Sandals

    Much merited survey Paddy! That ROM “hoot / bell” thing irritates me every time.

    Greener Pastures has closed. But Google maps doesn’t know this either.

    Recommended right now (for shows not sites) – Diaz Contemporary, Susan Hobbs, Georgia Scherman, Paul Petro, Stephen Bulger, David Kaye, Clint Roenisch and yes MoCCA

  • http://neditpasmoncoeur.blogspot.com Leah Sandals

    Much merited survey Paddy! That ROM “hoot / bell” thing irritates me every time.

    Greener Pastures has closed. But Google maps doesn’t know this either.

    Recommended right now (for shows not sites) – Diaz Contemporary, Susan Hobbs, Georgia Scherman, Paul Petro, Stephen Bulger, David Kaye, Clint Roenisch and yes MoCCA

  • http://neurartic.blogspot.com A.K.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • http://neurartic.blogspot.com A.K.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • http://www.misguidedconcept.com R

    The Power Plant’s actual website (not the Powerball website) is severely lacking, part of the problem is the administrative side of things. Their website is managed by the Habourfront Centre, where the gallery is located, and therefore they are bound by some hard to work around red tape. So offer them a little slack.

    I agree with some of the things said about the Powerball website but at the same time Powerball raises a large part of funding for the gallery and corporate sponsors are a main part of the event. Oh and so is selling tickets.

    But yes, the site needs work. I try to tell them that every day.

  • http://www.misguidedconcept.com R

    The Power Plant’s actual website (not the Powerball website) is severely lacking, part of the problem is the administrative side of things. Their website is managed by the Habourfront Centre, where the gallery is located, and therefore they are bound by some hard to work around red tape. So offer them a little slack.

    I agree with some of the things said about the Powerball website but at the same time Powerball raises a large part of funding for the gallery and corporate sponsors are a main part of the event. Oh and so is selling tickets.

    But yes, the site needs work. I try to tell them that every day.

  • Art Fag City

    I wasn’t aware Powerball is one of the three largest art events in the city every year so I feel a little bad for being quite so snarky about the fundraiser. That said, these are issues that need to be resolved. I have no doubt they could sell a lot more tickets if their website was put together better.

  • Art Fag City

    I wasn’t aware Powerball is one of the three largest art events in the city every year so I feel a little bad for being quite so snarky about the fundraiser. That said, these are issues that need to be resolved. I have no doubt they could sell a lot more tickets if their website was put together better.

  • http://www.mooneyontheatre.com megan

    Okay, a bit late to the game, but I’d like to join in on the snark about the Globe and add that they’ve suddenly started charging for articles over a couple days old – like reviews for instance. garg.

  • http://www.mooneyontheatre.com megan

    Okay, a bit late to the game, but I’d like to join in on the snark about the Globe and add that they’ve suddenly started charging for articles over a couple days old – like reviews for instance. garg.

  • http://www.mooneyontheatre.com megan

    Okay, a bit late to the game, but I’d like to join in on the snark about the Globe and add that they’ve suddenly started charging for articles over a couple days old – like reviews for instance. garg.

  • http://www.magic-pony.com/ Magic Pony

    Thanks for the insights! You’ve definitely given us some things to consider for our own website.

  • http://www.magic-pony.com/ Magic Pony

    Thanks for the insights! You’ve definitely given us some things to consider for our own website.

  • http://www.magic-pony.com/ Magic Pony

    Thanks for the insights! You’ve definitely given us some things to consider for our own website.

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