Canoe.ca: Look at our new mess

Canoe.ca has undergone a redesign. And it still sucks.

The French version, especially, is a vast improvement over its disaster of a “portal”, but for some reason they’re following the same mistakes everyone else is making in trying to “go Web 2.0”, not knowing what the heck Web 2.0 is all about:

  • Headlines in blue-grey Helvetica bold, and a complete ban on serif fonts for no good reason
  • “Rotating headlines” which, in addition to sucking up your CPU time, force you to play a cat-and-mouse game (or is it mouse-and-mouse?) to click on it before it’s replaced with another one. (Did someone send out a memo somewhere giving people the impression that this is what “dynamic content” is all about?)
  • Everything portals that include thousands of links (OK I exaggerate, there are only 339 links on the homepage).
  • Pages that scroll down forever. Every inch down, an entirely new layout style appears with its own rules and logic, guaranteeing as much confusion as possible on where to find things.
  • Three separate horizontal menus.
  • Space wasted begging people to use this page as their homepage, instead of offering a page anyone would want to use as one.
  • Inside pages so jam-packed with ads you’re searching for the “print-friendly” link (pages of course don’t simply include print-friendly stylesheets) so you can just read the story in peace.
  • Duplicate links to sections like News and Sports just a few pixels apart.
  • Separate “narrow” and “wide” versions, because your monitor is only 800 or 1024 pixels wide, no matter who you are.
  • Each section page has a different brand, a different layout, and a different way of finding things.

Look for another massive redesign in a year or less when the folks behind Canoe.ca realize their layout sucks and nobody can find anything.

5 thoughts on “Canoe.ca: Look at our new mess

  1. princess iveylocks

    I appreciate that you counted every single link on the homepage, Steve.

    It doesn’t look too bad to me, but I don’t use Canoe.ca to “find” content… I use Google. The new interface is more pleasant for leisurely browsing. And, honestly, most users are probably looking for sports anyway, so it makes sense to direct them there more than once.

    WHOA, POWER SURGE! YOU ROCK, ONTARIO! KEEP THAT A/C CRANKED TO THE MAX!

    What was I saying, again? Oh. Right. The pages are weirdly long, I agree with you on that.

    I think the unanswered question is: what kind of person routinely reads Canoe.ca, and how does this redesign affect their user experience? The reason CBC and G&M redesigns drew so much attention is because web-literate consumers make up the bulk of those audiences, and they were ready to throw in their two cents every time font sizes went up a lousy pixel. Canoe always struck me as watered-down (excepting sports coverage; only tabloids can pull that off well…), and hence appealing to a more basic reader, someone less concerned about aesthetics and more concerned with consistency.

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  2. Fagstein Post author

    Actually, the browser did most of the counting.

    I can’t imagine anyone who isn’t an employee of Quebecor using Canoe.ca regularly, much less as their homepage.

    But for those people who go there looking for stuff, why not make a simple portal, with links to the various sections? Keep the top news headlines there (by the way, very little on that page is actually news), and then link to the rest. Let people click once quickly through two simple pages instead of having to scan through one massive one.

    Reply

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