Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The new allmusic.com

I've refrained from comment for several weeks about the site changes to one of my favorite sites on the internet, allmusic.com. For many years, it has been almost as indespensible to me as Amazon.com and IMDB - an invaluable source of information on all kinds of different musical artists, genres, etc. A buying guide for artists (such as Miles Davis) who have a billion different albums (even if I don't agree with all the reviews). A source of trivia and argument settlement. An excellent waste of time.

I've never made a secret of my occaisional unhappiness with their servers, however. During the busy stretches of the day, searching for a particular album, song, artist, etc. has been next to impossible because of heavy site traffic. Moreover, there's no good way to go back a page without having to repost data or do your search all over again. And the general layout was, in certain respects, a little clunky. And to be honest...it was ugly.

Well - they've redesigned their site recently and, honestly, I'm not sure what I think about the new layout and design. Certain things are better - I don't have as many problems hitting the back button, for example. It is easier on the eyes. But you have to make extra clicks for the listing of albums and whatnot and I'm not in love with the java interface. Indeed - certain things take a great deal more clicks than they used to. Reviews, for example, are buried pages in so that you have to now search for the artist, click on the artist, click on Discography, click on the album, click on more info.

I feel AMG didn't think this one through very well. The site is better looking, sure. But at what cost? Part of me feels that functionality should be the top concern of a site such as that - and they could have improved the look without making it more difficult to find info. Makes me shudder to think what IMDB could look like one day if they got it in their heads to redesign. Or Amazon.com, for that matter. Probably only a matter of time.

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