CanAsian Arts Network

Spotlight Network for Canadian Asian Artists


Festival Accès Asie




  • Accessibility
  • Information Architecture
  • UX Design
  • UI Design
  • WordPress

Festival Accès Asie wanted to create a free digital platform for Canadian Asian artists to connect with fellow creators and industry representatives. The result is The CanAsian Arts Network (CAAN), a pan-Canadian community comprised of artists, cultural workers, and organizations with the goal to foster collaboration while improving representation in the arts.

desktop view of artist, work, and vision with featured artists

Why this project was a success

  • 1

    Developed a networking platform that fosters collaboration and community building among Canadian Asian artists.

  • 2

    Created artist profiles that highlight their unique disciplines, projects, and origins.

  • 3

    Prioritized accessibility guidelines and centered decolonization for an inclusive user experience.

An Artist-Focused Networking Platform

The main goal of the CanAsian Arts Network is to provide a safe space for Asian Canadian artists to showcase their talents, collaborate with one another, and improve representation. Using WordPress, we built a platform that prioritizes community building by featuring a member portal where artists can access exclusive resources and job opportunities.

The portal contains artist profiles that feature the artist’s work through images and embedded videos and playlists. It gives artists the ability to tell their story, where they came from and what inspires them. To connect, artists can easily discover each other through filters and send messages directly from their page.

Energizing Design & Engaging Micro-integrations

The brand identity, created by Ray Dak Lam and inspired by creativity, diversity, and collaboration, features bright colours and various geometric shapes that can be uniquely combined. Adhering to accessibility guidelines, we adapted the brand to the web by tweaking colours for contrast and fonts for legibility.

To keep users engaged, several micro-integrations are used throughout the site including spinning call-to-actions, a colourful following cursor, and shapes that appear while hovering. All together these animations improve navigation by directing attention to important elements and making user actions fun and rewarding.

mobile view of artist headers

Admin Moderation & Automation

A main feature of the platform is a member-only network where artists and industry members can follow and message each other. To moderate member content, a moderation system was established where users can send reports allowing admins to resolve issues efficiently.

An automation system that randomly selects artists to be featured on the home page was added to highlight diverse talent. Every 24 hours a new set of artists are automatically displayed using a list of preapproved profiles saving admins time in their day-to-day tasks.

desktop and mobile view of decolonization blurb

Centering Accessibility & Decolonization

A huge aspect of the project from the discovery phase to the final product was accessibility, inclusion and decolonization. The site was designed and developed to be accessible to a variety of users following WCAG 2.1 guidelines.

Decolonization is a main theme throughout the site. There is a dedicated page to discuss CanAsian Arts Network’s commitment and a section in each artist’s profile that details their own journey towards decolonization.

desktop view of about, artists, and decolonization pages
About the client

Festival Accès Asie was established in 1995 and is Canada’s longest running Asian heritage arts festival. Based in Montreal, they promote Asian arts, cultures and history through a variety of art disciplines including visual arts, dance, theatre, film, music, literature, new media, and culinary arts.

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