In praise of bad web design

Home page of irregular boxes

Testimonials page

Have you seen a website like this in Toronto’s digital wilds? At first I was set back by its design but then noted a quality.

Mother’s Dumplings website is so retro and poor that it stands out in an age of repetitive image sliders, parallax scrolling, pop-ups, and auto-play video backgrounds.

It’s so cute that I want to collect sites like these and them take home and put them in a drawer or on the coffee table.

Make no mistake, I love eating dumplings and pan cakes at Mother’s Dumpling on Spadina Ave below College. You may too if you’ve not been. Just don’t try their site on mobile or have accessibility needs.

Every location has a story. Let’s connect them online

Where there is a place, there is a story. In cities public places have a story of coexistence and connection.

I’ve long been hooked on connecting location information online with images, links and info. For years I have been using location apps such as Foursquare Swarm and Yelp to check into places, leaving a photo and an account. I’ve recently been inpsired by Jane’s Walks about neighbourhoods, the city building hash tag #2forTO, and an app I tried in San Francisco. The Detour App took things to a new level by offering audio/visual location tours that direct one to places not even imagined.

As a personal project, I created profile accounts in social media of a few local places in a consistent fashion. Profiles are different from a daily stream of events you typically find in social media. A profile offers basic info, a quick glimpse of what the topic is, and then links to more information on the web.

Below are the accounts I set up for people online to connect about a location while passing through. They are a spot for myself and others to put topical tips and media. For now they are simply profiles with a link to Wikipedia so one may learn more. I’m reaching out to others to profile here as well such as @StClairWestTO.

I wish the city would own these digital footprints so we could all move through our digital space more easily. By that I mean, common names would be registered and link to further resources. I rather the account names be ones about a location and not a dormant user account that has nothing to do with the location such as @CollegeStTO and @BloorSt on Twitter.