Andy Baio reports that the Allmusic Guide has been redesigned. It was horribly designed, so you’d have to think that a redesign would be an improvement, but not so. He lists the problems with the new design. I haven’t seen any of them myself because the site is taking too long to load.
OK, now I see that it looks like crap, and has the big warning for non-IE users posted across the top that Andy mentions. The site is one of the key reference sites I use nearly every day, along with IMDB, Wikipedia, and baseballreference.com. How can they screw things up so badly?
Update: An allmusic.com employee has sent Andy Baio an email explaining what’s going on. Here’s what he has to say about browser compatability:
Optimizing a site of allmusic’s complexity and size for all browsers and operating systems is no small feat. This isn’t a simple “brochure-ware” site of static pages. While we would love to optimize the AMG sites for all browsers and all operating systems, we simply don’t have the necessary resources to do so. Despite some users flattering comparison of our site with that of Google, Amazon and Yahoo!, we are a small company with limited resources. So, we had to pick the most widely used browser by our users (over 87%) to optimize the site for and then work on compatibility issues with the other major browsers as we go forward.
This makes no sense to me. If you’re a small company with few resources, why build your site using complex markup that breaks in everything but Internet Explorer. The one thing that Google, Yahoo, IMDB, Wikipedia, and other large, data driven sites have in common is that they use simple layouts and markups that work with anybody’s browser. Sites run into problems when they’re overdesigned. I’m surprised that they took such a retrograde approach on the site.