Those wacky CBC arts people and their incredible flying machine

CBC’s new Arts Canada website debuted today. This is what you see instead of the old InfoCulture website if you go to and click on Entertainment in the sidebar.

I don’t mean to be crass, but this new effort sucks, pure and simple.

One of the important things about the web — one of the things that made its rapid adoption by millions of people in such a short time period possible — is that it is based on standards. To fill out a form on the web, you pretty well do the same thing whether you’re applying for a Visa card or hunting license or signing up for intelligent sex. Sites are rich and wonderful and different, but a scroll bar still scrolls, and you still click that’s blue ‘cause that means it’s a hyperlink.

For the CBC this standard old regular web world is obviously just too darn restrictive a medium to deliver arts-related information to we Canadians. They have to go ahead and develop an entirely new set of metaphors for us to learn if we want to use their site. Their scroll bars work differently. Their hyperlinks look different. In their self-described “rich media portal,” the web doesn’t work the way the web works. It works the way some guys in Toronto think they would like the web to work.

That might be cool and sexy for them, and they might have convinced the CBC that this somehow makes the web work more “like TV.” But from my humble consumer’s perspective, it seems akin to designing a car where the steering wheel turns the other way, the turn signal is under the seat, and the radio gurgles every time you hit it to turn it on.

Why not concentrate on your strengths: solid arts reporting, presented from a trusted, reliable, known source, rather than investing untold gazillions in stupid flashy stuff which obscures rather than enlivens content.



Stephen's picture
Stephen on November 7, 2001 - 15:55 Permalink

I am going to agree on this one, Even after the site is loaded and I return to pages I find it slow. A simple feature that adds the site to my bookmarks seems like it takes forever to appear on the screen.

I miss the slider on the scroll bars (site credits) and the pages that do have the sliders do not seem to keep up with the mouse movement.

I don’t mind some Flash, but when it is used for the entire site and forces a popup window, it

Stephen's picture
Stephen on November 7, 2001 - 16:00 Permalink

and why is there a different loading screen for every page?? There is everything from the word loading fading in and out to a man walking to a hand moving a percentage meter.

Johnny Rukavina's picture
Johnny Rukavina on November 7, 2001 - 16:22 Permalink

You’re right. It sucks.

Alan McLeod's picture
Alan McLeod on November 7, 2001 - 19:30 Permalink

I can’t even look at it because I do not have a system that can support it as an application. Thank you CBC weenies. Thanks for thinking of me…

Alan McLeod's picture
Alan McLeod on November 7, 2001 - 21:00 Permalink

Up with the Chevy-class programs such as Windows 95, Netscape 4.x and Asteriods that do all you need and don’t cut out participation through needless worship of the new.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on November 7, 2001 - 21:53 Permalink

Actually Alan, Netscape 4.x is one of the least standards compliant programs around (maybe that’s what you meant by ‘chevy-class’). Right now it is costing companies loads of cash in extra development time as well as making life on the web difficult for users with disabilities. Boo!

Alan McLeod's picture
Alan McLeod on November 8, 2001 - 01:27 Permalink

So…I am an early middle age 4.x rebel without a clue twerp. What should I load as an easy functional browser on a pentium 75 28.8 model 1995 clone? Is there a good stripped down thing out there? Opera or some other non-alligned design? Should be free.

dave moses's picture
dave moses on November 8, 2001 - 16:44 Permalink

not withstanding that you may have a well designed site that doesn’t have to look like some suped-up newspaper, i’d agree.

anonymous coward @ cbc's picture
anonymous cowar... on November 9, 2001 - 01:07 Permalink

As a cbc guy in Toronto, I take offence at your “some guys in Toronto” comment. The ArtsCanada site was done out of Calgary and I believe the graphic designer is from Winnipeg. Most of us in Toronto agree with basic usability functions. No wonder this site was four months behind scedule.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on November 9, 2001 - 01:58 Permalink

To CBC person, and all CBC people in Toronto: apologies for blaming the insanity of ArtsCanada on you folks. I goofed. To CBC people in Calgary: please transfer earlier comments to own backs.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on November 9, 2001 - 19:56 Permalink

Alan, the K-Meleon browser is a nice light little browser. It is based on the open source Mozilla engine which is shared by Netscape 6.x and is very standards compliant. Earlier builds were slow and inefficient, but it’s getting leaner and more stable with every new build.