CaFE, Behind the Curtain: Insights as a Juror Using CaFE
September 15, 2011
I had the opportunity to be a juror for a show. The jury submissions and review used CaFE, an online jury review service.
While I have used CaFE as an artist many times to submit my work for a juried situation, this was my first time as a juror using this service.
Today's post will reveal the "behind the scenes" difficulties and challenges for a juror using CaFE. Future posts will continue with concerns and suggest options for artists to improve their juried application on CaFE.
First, let's start with my overall assessment of CaFE, then a detailed explanation.
CaFE does a great disservice to the artists, makers, and jurors. The website does not offer what I would consider the minimum features.
The formatting /programming for this online service is below the current standards for social networking and photo viewing such as Flickr or Facebook. I have not used other online jury review systems, but I think there is definitely room for improvement in CaFE. If I was giving the CaFE website a review it would get one star."
CaFE is a market leader in the online jury review business which is why the issues listed below bother me so much.
Juror Challenge #1.
Reading the information and statement.
The information presented to the juror was white text on black. White text on black is a nightmare. (Don't use this color scheme for your website, blog, or any social networking format). White on black is hard to read, unpleasant and tiresome.
If the text information is influencing a juror's decision, the formatting of white text on a black background isn't helping your chances of selection. White text on black isn't artful, it's antagonizing.
Juror Challenge #2.
The images are surprisingly small.
I would have liked to look at an image that filled my screen. I mean maybe 1,000 by 1,000 at 72 dpi or even BIGGER!
As a juror, it would be nice to be able to click on the image and get a larger view, or magnifying window. This was not possible.
The images that the juror looked at are much too small. I am not talking about the "thumbnail images". I am saying that the jurors are looking at images that were 500 by 500 pixels or smaller to make their decisions.
Some are even "less", because if the image was not square to use up the 500px x 500px, the maximum dimension was 500px in one direction. Consequently, any remaining area was just "fill" (for example, the right image using my work as a guinea pig).
There was no way to even look at a bigger view either. That was it! This is hardly ideal and a real downside to using CaFE.
CaFE management says they are working on an enhancement to display images at a maximum of 700 x 700 pixels. This is a little bigger but not full-screen. That would be an improvement, but in my opinion, not enough. This issue really offends my sense of justice. Juried decisions should be based on larger photos!
I have three more challenges with CaFE, but am not going to overwhelm you in one day. The next three Juror "challenges" (image review, the scorecard, and the Artists' Statements) will be described in the next post.
After that ASK Harriete will take several posts to review how artists can improve their CaFE submissions.
This post was updated on February 10, 2022.