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.