The art and technology website Rhizome.org hired a fancy ad agency to redesign their site and links are breaking all over.
Good thing I saved all my comments in that ring binder a while back because the archive where they're collected has disappeared.
Comments aren't gone, they're incorporated as text into individual posts but they're no longer tied to individual users or compiled in a separate database.
The fancy ad agency is Wieden+Kennedy -- they do Coca Cola and the like. You can really tell. This is a suit's idea of what art is supposed to look like. Cra-a-a-zy upside down fonts and self-consciously glitched out captions. Pass the bong, said the account executive.
But the design flaws, such as content-obscuring menus, are just unprofessional. An earnest amateur who cared about the site would have done a more conscientious job.
Possibly this was done "pro bono" -- by an intern who had never heard of Rhizome three weeks ago.*
Just an example of the carnage: this interview Cory Arcangel did with me is now an impenetrable block of type, with no paragraph breaks or other formatting. (Caution: links to Rhizome posts have been crashing my browser.) Fortunately the Wayback Machine has a readable version.
Rhizome's digital conservator Dragan Espenschied has his work cut out for him: restoring functionality to his employer's website. Dragan, old internet friend, let me know if I can help -- I can make pages in HTML where links don't break and the pages don't crash.
A friend sent me this graphic from Zuckerbergland:
*Update: Rhizome's announcement of the redesign states that "this process, which involved a year of intensive discussion, design, and development, was enabled and led by the visionaries at Wieden+Kennedy New York, and built by our excellent Senior Developer, Matthew Conlen, with crucial support from developer Max Nanis." Dear visionaries, can you help me find Nasty Nets in the Artbase? It doesn't come up when I search the words "nasty" or "nets."
Update, Jan. 2018: Gradually many of the form and content bugs complained of above were repaired by Rhizome. Ironically in the time since I wrote this post, Dump.fm went down, taking with it my screenshots of Rhizome design snafus at the time of relaunch. Did someone mention "the web" is an unstable environment? Sadly, the Wieden+Kennedy mobile-friendly design persists: when you expand, say, the blog page to PC-width, the posts disperse into strange, random-seeming configurations. The writing in the blog posts themselves is hidden and requires clicking on a teaser headline. Essentially Rhizome followed the pack so that its site looks like Forbes, Bloomberg, and other big-media outfits -- i.e., trendy and bad. An educated guess is these sites are moving away from HTML to "json" or similar scripted means of page assembly. The DIY days of simple, clear, easily duplicated content-delivery methods are long behind us.