Addicted to novelty since 2001

Canada.com Redesigns Without RSS Feeds

Canada.com recently launched a long-overdue redesign of their website. I’ll let you decide what you think on your own, but I find it way too busy, deeply unusable and just plain ugly. As somebody (I think it was on here, but I can’t find it now) recently remarked, they went from looking like an early-nineties website to a late-nineties one.

One particularly laughable navigation element is the ‘share it’ section. This teases with the prospect of citizen journalism and reader engagement, but turns out to be the bucket for stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else. What do obituaries (new user-generated content, every day!), personals and e-cards (speaking of the nineties) have in common? They do have a discussion group, but they managed to select the ugliest, least user-friendly forum software I’ve seen in years.

What’s the worst offense (aside from the subscription walled gardens)? No RSS feeds. C’mon, it’s nearly 2006. Nearly every media outlet in the world offers RSS feeds. CanWest is among the largest media conglomerates in Canada. What possible reason could they have for not implementing them?

Colby Cosh is none too impressed either. He’s wrong, of course, about design, but he’s correct about the laughable new slogan (so designed by committee): “Where Perspectives Connect”.

11 Responses to “Canada.com Redesigns Without RSS Feeds”

  1. Jeffery Simpson

    The Metblog post you were looking for was here http://vancouver.metblogs.com/2005/11/more_posts_about_snow_and_elec.phtml.

    As for why they don’t offer RSS feeds, well because they’re still too focused on protecting content from copyright infringement to have realized that without RSS they’re just going to be ghettoized.

    I only read Canada.com now so I have topics to blog about at Metroblogging Vancouver. If it weren’t for that I wouldn’t even go, it’s so much easier to simply read CBC’s RSS feeds.

  2. Chris

    I agree. It’s not an improvement as far as I am concerned; it looks uninviting and is confusing to use.

    Also, I have a canada.com email address which I only use for booking travel (North West Airlines, Easyjet (in the UK) i.e. – reputable companies). I’ve had it for three or so years and never had a problem with it.

    However, since they launched their re-designed email, I have had a notable increase in sp%m emails and now receive about 20 a day.

    Perhaps, it’s an attempt to get me to use their paid-for service (open my inbox to sp%m so I will get sick of it and cross their palm with dollars)…

  3. Ray

    Newspaper web design is a solid example of badly planned, poorly coded, unusable design. If I ever need to tutor a client on the impact of poor usability I only have to point at online newspapers and ask them to search for a story.

    Canada.com was and still is the worst of the worst.

    Colby Cosh commenting on web design is funny. I view the web on a designer’s monitor (19″ at 1280×1024) and his print is unreadable. When he takes readability seriously I’ll consider his design critiques. Until then…

    Canada.com is too busy peddling PODCASTING, thank you very much Kevin ‘hey we’re PODCASTING NOW’ Newman.

    If their site was searchable beyond 7 days, had reasonable URLs, had simpler navigation, I’d think we were looking at the second coming of Christ.

    When they do all of the above I’m gonna start going back to church.

  4. Todd

    That slogan is truly awful.

    If you want a real horror story of a website, go to rogersvideo.com. But remember, once you look at it you can’t un-look. It’s that bad.

  5. Derek

    CanWest has shown so little understanding of how to involve its news organizations with the Web that this “our web hosting comes with FREE templates!” redesign is sadly no surprise.

  6. Andrea

    I think they made it ugly so that regular readers like me would give up and buy the paper. But I’m not doing that, so now they’ve lost my eyes and my wallet.

  7. Jeffery Simpson

    Well they’ve tried to make it look… I don’t know “good” I guess. It’s sort of IGN.com-esque and that’s a bad layout too.

    I like simple and clean. The Guardian (guardian.co.uk) generally has a good clean layout, plus RSS which is nice.

  8. Dustin

    I was looking for an RSS feed on the canada.com site today, for a project I’m working on. There’s still nothing available. No RSS for the National Post, the Vancouver Sun/Province, Montreal Gazette, etc.

    I was shocked that they had nothing. This post is the top result searching for “canada.com rss”

  9. Ron

    I think that’s just for displaying stories of your preference on their website, not for displaying their headlines on your own site. I played with it for an hour or so thinking I was going to be able to display their headlines on my site… but no joy.

  10. Why Do Like Halo?

    […] News & Reviews’ banner, but lives in their absurd ‘Share It’ section. I complained about this when they re-launched last year. What rational media organization would put obituaries, e-cards and […]

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