All Music Guide Redesign Sucks

I used to visit All Music Guide all the time; it’s quite simply the best reference for music on the Web that I’ve come across. Unfortunately, they launched their redesigned site yesterday, and I’m very disappointed. In a nutshell, the redesign sucks, and I’m not the only one that thinks so. Andy Baio at sums things up nicely:

…when I heard they were redesigning, I was excited to see if they’d fix my laundry list of complaints with the existing site: the inadequate search engine, their convoluted URL structure, inaccessible and confusing Javascript tricks (like showing/hiding biography text and blocking right-click URL copying), and the frequent server timeouts.

Their redesign launched moments ago. (The old site can still be viewed here.) They not only failed to fix any of my complaints, but they made it worse. Much worse.

Most frustrating, the site only displays properly in Internet Explorer. (In Firefox, you get a big banner warning that the site is IE-only.) Worse, display bugs make many features of the site unreadable and unuseable in other browsers. All tables are broken, like the search results, track listings and discographies. Some pages, like the New Releases, reposition content off the screen. I can’t tell what’s a hyperlink, because the cursor doesn’t change in anything except Internet Explorer.

The problems aren’t limited to display bugs. The URLs are worse than before, now so long that they can’t be sent by e-mail. Biographies, discographies and album reviews are no longer a single page, so you’re forced to click through to multiple pages to view the content you want. And the site’s slower than ever, and I’m periodically getting server timeouts and connection delay error messages. (Oh, and the spinning Flash navigation is a waste of space.)

What a disappointment. As an early beta tester, I sent them a long e-mail outlining my new complaints. Let’s hope they listen. Does anyone know anyone on staff at AMG? I’d love to ask their web guys a few questions.

Luckily I recently finished ripping all of my CDs onto my hard drive as MP3s in preparation for converting HAL5 to a jukebox linked to my stereo (woo hoo!). This would have been a lot more difficult with the new All Music site, since Tag & Rename, the excellent MP3 ID3 tag application I use, directly interfaces with All Music to embed artist and track info, cover art, and more into the MP3 file via ID3V2 tags. It looks like this interface is broken right now, but it’s so slow that it wouldn’t be worth it anyway. This sucks…

It looks like I may have to look for a replacement for All Music, although I’m holding out hope that they will realize how badly they botched their redesign. Any suggestions?

Update: All Music has posted a response to the widespread criticism over its new design. It seems as if they are addressing some of the major complaints, but only time will tell whether the site will be as useful as it once was. I guess I can be patient while they work out the bugs, but I do have my limits. By the way, you can no longer access the “original” site; it now redirects to the redesigned site.

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