Friday, March 23, 2007

Week 10: Activity-Centered Design

I will be traveling to Toronto in April for four days so I want to find a hip jazz club in the city with a $10 cover charge. I decided to visit a local paper, The Toronto Star, and search for some of the larger, more established clubs.

Initial Battle Plan

  • Visit the newspaper’s home page at on the entertainment link.
  • Look for club listings on the calendar.
  • Pick one and evaluate the cover/ticket charge.
  • Log-off and start packing.

Reality Check:

  1. Searched for Toronto Star on the search engine
  2. Clicked on the "Arts and Entertainment" tab on the navigation bar.
  3. Found two choices: Music or "Buzz"
  4. On the “Buzz” homepage, I scrolled through the stories that ranged from the "Naughty Sounds of Ms. Sorbara" and "Pop Goes the Week" to find any side navigation to music club listings.
  5. Score! Found the article, "All This Jazz" with the sub headline: "In four days, Toronto's jazz fortunes are set to rise with the debut of a swank downtown club, a partnership between a jazz impresario and one of the city's entertainment magnates."
  6. Skimmed through the article. The reporter rates the sound system and kitchen as outstanding and the $58,000 piano earns high marks from musicians. A paragraph mentions the usual weekday cover charge is $10.
  7. And proving that serendipity is on my side, I spot a sidebar to the left of the article showcasing five jazz clubs in the city. The reporter only analyzed the price of one club, the expensive Opal Jazz Lounge (between $10 and $19 for an appetizer.) The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar and Lula Lounge sound promising.
  8. I log off.


The navigation bar was relatively easy to find and the labels were mostly clear, but I relied on serendipity to find my jazz listings.

I returned to the “Buzz” page to search for jazz listings in the city. I did stumble upon an event listing sponsored by housed in a small blue box. The club listings on the calendar were difficult to track since I had to search through the live music chart, the music venue index and the trendy bar list.

A simple header of "Jazz Clubs" would have sufficed. Which leads me to this point: the Toronto Star Web editors could make the navigation text a bit easier to comprehend. What on earth is "Buzz"?---would something simple as "hot events" work to help the visitor find the information in an efficient manner?

The newspaper's Web calendar is buried several layers into the site and jazz clubs are simply not a featured category. It would make more sense for a connoisseur to search for jazz clubs through a search engine like either Google or