Behind the CaFE Curtain: Insights as a Juror Using CaFE

CaFElogo2 Recently I was 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.

ASK Harriete will reveal the "behind the scenes" difficulties and challenges for a juror using CaFE. The first two posts (digested here on Crafthaus) discuss the challenges for the juror.  Subsequent posts on ASK Harriete suggest options for artists to improve their juried application on CaFE.

Start with my over all assessment of CaFE, 
then a detailed explanation. 

If I was giving the CaFE web site a review it would get one star." 

JusticeCaFE is a market leader in the online jury review business which is why the issues listed below bother me so much. CaFE needs to improve their site, or I recommend finding another method for reviewing images.  


Juror Challenge #1.
Reading the information and statement.

White text on black is not artful, it is antagonizing.

Read the full explanation for each juror challenge on ASK Harriete


or keep going with this abridged review.....


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! While small images here or on my blog seem fine, when I am making decisions that affect whether an artist or maker is "in" or "out" I want to see the big picture.

Read the full explanation for each juror challenge on ASK Harriete.















 I have three more juror challenges with CaFE, described in a 2nd post.... or continue here on Crafthaus for the abridged version......  

Juror Challenge #3.
Image review is a nightmare.

Image review was possible in three different methods - all bad!

When reviewing images in the "Preview Slideshow" mode, "Thumbnail Scorecard" mode, or the "Slideshow Scorecard" the juror could only go forward. The juror could only advance the images on the monitor to the next images.


Back The other juror had the same problem. Neither of us figured out the keyboard options for reviewing the previous images. There are no clues or cues on the screen for how to look at a prior image. For comparison, Crafthaus, Flickr and Facebook albums have arrows, next or back, buttons on screen near the images.


Juror Challenge #4.
Scorecard was confusing.

The review for the scorecard was effectively encrypted, i.e. hard to decipher and confusing.  Images were described by a 6 digit number.

There were no images on the scorecard.  To double check my score, I had to go back and forth between multiple windows.  What a pain!

So confusing!

The lack of intuitive interaction caused uneven review which offends my sense of justice.

I am enthusiastic about using the Internet, but the current structure and interface of this online service is a hindrance to the arts and crafts community.


Juror Challenge #5.
Artist's statement

The artist's statement on the application form is for one text statement only, and it is not associated or tied to the images.


The impact was that the artists' statements seemed generic and not specific to the images. This is just another example of how poorly designed the CaFE s;ystem interface functions for both the artist and the juror.  

In the big picture, it is the greatest of honors to be asked to make juror decisions.  I respect the process and  take the responsibility very seriously. 


In this event, I tried very hard to provide my best decisions, but I also came to realize that this CaFE system has room for improvement, to put it mildly. 


If we don't talk about this out loud, it will never be fixed. I hope I am not black listed forever for revealing this disturbing little secret.

The next three posts on ASK Harriete will describe how artists can improve their CaFE submissions. Look for a new post onCrafthaus to improve your CaFE application.

Stay tuned.




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Comment by Harriete E Berman on September 17, 2011 at 12:40am

Just wanted to add that the next post on Tuesday includes three more juror challenges.

Giving CaFE a one star review was generous.Thursday posts  begins a series of  suggestions for artists to improve their chances with the existing system on CaFE.

If you have used CaFE as a juror, what do you think?



Comment by 2Roses on September 17, 2011 at 12:06am

We have not been impressed with CaFE either. Unfortunately it has been adopted as the jurying system for SNAG's  online exhibition program. This will pose even greater problems for SNAG and its members moving forward as they attempt to integrate it into a greater online presence.

Comment by Harriete E Berman on September 16, 2011 at 1:35pm

Yes, I hope CaFE understands that their service is below current internet standards for image viewing.

If artists are uploading images that are  1920 x 1920 pixels (the required dimension) why can't the juror look at images this big?

CaFE call for  should change or I don't think anyone should use this service.

Strong words, but I feel really strongly about this issue.


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