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“Very engaging. The navigation combined with the full-screen treatment works very well—users will come back to this site.” —juror Grace Stanat

“Pleasing interface design for a site pushing sound, along with the station’s programming information. Unfortunately not for non-broadband visitors.” —juror Deb Koch

Overview: A magazine-style site that offers a backstage pass to Canadian music makers. This culturally-rich destination presents music, stories, art and interactive content in a cohesive and entertaining manner.

• Site houses a vast collection of alternative music
• ColdFusion/MySQL backend
• 700,000 page views on average per week
• 3 months, 4 people developed/14 people maintenance

Comments by Rob McLaughlin:
“Since CBC Radio 3 was included in CA’s Interactive Annual last year, we’ve published 46 new issues of the weekly online magazine containing some 326 stories, including essays on the last days of a dying mother, blind photographers wielding disposable cameras, a heart-breaking tale about the day Ernie left Bert; and lots and lots and lots of new independent Canadian music.

“All things told we’ve served over 20,000 gigabytes of media-rich content in the past year. And the biggest challenge of it all? Keeping things fresh.

“Let’s face it, when you’re experimenting with new types of storytelling and interactive content, not every experiment can be a complete success. It’s a constant struggle to keep pushing yourself to try new things. And sometimes when we’re playing with new formats under weekly deadlines, we’re forced to learn from our mistakes in very public ways.

“We’ve included more streaming Flash video in the past few months and we’re excited about exploring video in an interactive and full-page presentation. Content and design need to be tightly focused and our Flash programming needs to be solid. We’ve also made an effort to design overall with more animation and movement in each item, something that creates momentum in a story or entices a user to keep looking, clicking, reading and listening.

“It all boils down to making choices. We work with hundreds of creative artists interested in exploring music, art and culture in an online format. We continue to invest heavily in people rather than in a system that might speed things up, but that wouldn’t allow for as much creative flexibility. Our decision often leads to some late nights, but we hope our audiences appreciate the effort.

“In the end, it’s the talented producers who craft the site each week that make it the success that it is. They work with deadlines unheard of in other shops and stories are often designed and built within a couple of hours each week.”


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