Tuesday January 30, 2007

Category 305

category305 logo Poor Category 305 — they’re trying so hard, but they just seem to be getting nowhere. A number of talented writers struggling in the face of an oppressive, unwieldy content management system. I mean, look at this thing: enigmatic menus along the top with enigmatic drop-downs. I’ve been clicking around this thing for the last half-hour, and I occasionally land on something that looks interesting, but never get any sense of an underlying structure. The RSS feed doesn’t work. There’s a photo “gallery” where once you finally find the photos you’re not sure why you bothered.

My favorite is “Shoutout! Submit Your Story,” a prominent link on every single page. I’m game, so I click. “You are not authorized to view this resource. You need to login.” Um, ok; I’m not sure I care, but out of a sense of curiosity I actually created an account. Shouldn’t have bothered, because I’m still not authorized to view whatever the resource is. In fact, the only new thing I get access to for my troubles appears to be a ‘links’ section, and the only link goes to now-defunct The Dirt — oops! And what’s up with the weird techno styling? They designed this thing in 2006; why make it look like 2003?

This is all a little disturbing — Category 305 is spending good money running ads on WLRN. They’ve got writers doing interesting work (check out the new Oriental market survey). They have someone photoshopping text over photos. They’ve got Rebecca Wakefield, for christsakes! But unless this website gets fixed dumped and redone from scratch, and I mean pronto, it ain’t going nowhere.

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  1. Un-enthused c305 clicker    Tue Jan 30, 04:05 PM #  

    For me the site lacks direction. The links are all screwy and the images are always fuzzy. What are they trying to convey exactly? It’s like a hodgepodge of ideas that lead nowhere.



  2. Waste of Moolah    Tue Jan 30, 04:08 PM #  

    Goddamn this website sucks. I heard they dropped 50K on this thing.



  3. Celeste Fraser Delgado    Tue Jan 30, 05:49 PM #  

    Thanks, Alesh. As a bunch of writers trained in an 18th Century profession, we are indeed looking desperately for tech help, for all the reasons you’ve outlined above and more. We’re in talks with what will be our fourth set of web designers, and sure hope this set works out. We’re open to suggestions. In the meantime, we’re glad you’ve managed to read and enjoy some of the articles. (By the way, what is “techno styling”?)



  4. FER    Tue Jan 30, 07:12 PM #  

    The content is good. Could be a daily read if they manage to provide a more accessible layout. Im not a fan of their name, nor of their logo/title bar. Using an area code to name something is hardly ever a good choice.



  5. Area Code = Failure    Tue Jan 30, 07:49 PM #  

    Area codes are so ’90s trash, especially 305. Sorry, but this website is doomed to fail off its name, and the design is so terrible. It makes Miami look like a behind-the-times shithole – totally “techno.”



  6. Christian Calzadillas    Tue Jan 30, 09:05 PM #  

    Yeah, because everyone knows that the name of a website is FAR MORE important than the actual content!



  7. alesh    Tue Jan 30, 09:24 PM #  

    Techno styling:

    1. Diagonal lines in the bg.
    2. dystopian gray color schemes
    3. rounded corners with gradients
    4. dot-matrix font logo(!)
    5. double rounded-corners with gradients(
    6. “angular” trapezoid headers
    6a. “turned corner” boxes

    Not techno-looking, but it took me months of careful study to realize that the bullet point icons on the menus are derived from the C-305 “second logo”, which is in turn derived from the Wendy Wischer image. That is a graphical idea that should be dragged behind the barn and shot.

    Hey, it looks like some of the stuff I complained about is changed already; nice!



  8. Rebecca    Tue Jan 30, 11:25 PM #  

    Thanks for checking us out anyway, Alesh, et. al. Realize that this is, at present, a part-time effort put out by a couple of writers with no techie skills whatsoever, and on a limited budget. We don’t have an in-house webmaster, art director, or other invaluable infrastructure. It’s catch as catch can. We also do this while working on a dozen other projects to pay the rent.

    I agree that it’s pretty eclectic, often because we create categories to suit the passions of individual writers. There are obvious navigational and tech issues, which slowly we attempt to fix. If I could back up three months with what I’ve learned, I’d of course do things a bit differently right at the start. I’m the sort, however, that messes up first and learns later.

    End of the day, we’re trying to create something that’s interesting to read, and connective. We welcome your input, and offers of techie expertise. Failing that, let me buy you a beer sometime and tell you what I think is wrong with your life.
    Cheers, love
    -RW



  9. category boring    Tue Jan 30, 11:42 PM #  

    if you can’t do a website right, don’t do it. how many websites come out in miami and then just stop? people spread themselves so thin with countless projects. from a marketing perspective, the name “category 305” is cheesy and marketing, especially in miami, is like half the battle. content is well, boring.



  10. Biscayne Bystander    Wed Jan 31, 12:27 AM #  

    I still love you Becka. Your still aces with me.



  11. j-j    Wed Jan 31, 12:28 AM #  

    “Failing that, let me buy you a beer sometime and tell you what I think is wrong with your life.”

    LOL- I got to admit, that’s a good one…

    to “Category Boring”: wow man you do sound cranky! I bet that you like your beers the same way you like your life: Bitter!



  12. The Barn    Wed Jan 31, 09:28 AM #  

    That is a graphical idea that should be dragged behind the barn and shot”.

    Hey, don’t drag that shit around here. This is a class operation.



  13. alesh    Wed Jan 31, 10:16 AM #  

    The best journalist in town offers to tell me what’s wrong with my life? Over beer?

    I am SO taking you up on that, Rebecca.



  14. Manola Blablablanik    Wed Jan 31, 10:22 AM #  

    The content is very good but in terms of design this is one case in which less would really be more. I think they would’ve been better off just sticking to plain old blogger (or other service) since it’s the content that needs to stand out here. A simple sidebar with categories/writers and a simple front page designed for every issue, good photographs smattered throughout.



  15. Carlos Miller    Wed Jan 31, 04:03 PM #  

    “Area codes are so ’90s trash, especially 305”

    You must have one of those “786” area codes.



  16. Area Code = Failure    Wed Jan 31, 04:33 PM #  

    And you must be Magic City Media, which puts together “press packets” of sunset stock photos. There is a reason why People Mag just shut down their Miami bureau. Nice website, how about another palm tree?



  17. Carlos Miller    Wed Jan 31, 04:51 PM #  

    Did palm trees go out of style in the 90s as well?

    God, it’s so hard to keep up with trendsetters like yourself.

    And please tell me why you believe People Mag shut down its Miami bureau (not to mention its Chicago, Washington DC and Austin bureaus).



  18. Manola Blablablanik    Wed Jan 31, 05:15 PM #  

    Time, Inc. was lopping off heads across the board. It wasn’t just about Miami.



  19. Moving On    Wed Jan 31, 07:34 PM #  

    Area Code = Jean Carey. Nice to know you’re still alive.



  20. Carlos Miller    Wed Jan 31, 08:52 PM #  

    Area Code = Jean Carey. Nice to know you’re still alive

    Once a Bitch, always a Bitch