Here’s my top 5:

1. No buzz – No one’s talking about the site or its content.
2. No traffic – And worse, no one’s linking in.
3. No blog – The closest we get to an active discussion is a forum, which is pretty dead.
4. No RSS – Ok, some of the forums have RSS, but why not everything else?
5. No user-created content – It’s a community site for artists. Let’s see some art!

Also, I’m not in love with the design. I know this is being picky but man, orange overload! And white on light orange isn’t easy to read. Shouldn’t a site devoted to artists feature some more color?

But let’s back up a bit. CAR is a great idea:

A program of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, CAR is
intended to assist artists with their creative and professional
practice and to strengthen the community of artists in Chicago.

I mean, that sounds cool, right? Problem is that it’s hard to create a community out of thin air. Especially if your website doesn’t facilitate it in any way. If I’m an artist, I want to sign-up and start adding my art. I want people to see it and comment on it. I want to search other artists’ pages. I want to inspire others or get inspired myself. I want to join a discussion on technique or clients or whatever. I don’t care about recycled articles from New York Foundation for the Arts. And I don’t want to submit a story and wait for approval. Come on, who’s going through this list of questions thinking, “Man, this is cool.” Indeed, CAR is very Web 1.0.

I had pretty high hopes for this site. The title for this post could have easily been Chicago Artists Resource: WTF? After seeing the RFP, the great ideas, the massive requirements… it’s kind of hard to believe that this is the final product. Oh well.


Written by

Fred Simmons

As a Partner and the Director of User Experience at Gulo, Fred enjoys making website interactions more natural and improving UX design. Outside of work, Fred enjoys golf, BBQ, craft beer, movies where the bad guy wins, comma-separated lists, and talking about himself in the third person.