For many years Cricinfo was possibly the greatest website in the world, at least amongst websites generally considered Work Safe. It is still the must-see site for cricket fans, despite what Editor Steve claims. But it is increasingly, how shall we say this, shit.
It does have notable and considerable strengths. As an online resource, it is peerless. Firstly, the statsguru database is more comprehensive than the poindexters amongst us could dream of. Its archive of results and scorecards is also pretty remarkable, although cricketarchive is probably more extensive. A better search facility would be useful as a means to navigating the site though. The other strength of the website is its collation of live scores (and results) from around the world. However this function could be more user-friendly (one annoyance is the difficulty to scroll quickly on scoreboards, and also the time it takes to switch from summary to full scoreboard, especially if several matches are opened in different tabs) and easier on the eye (we’ll plug http://www.birdfolk.co.uk/cricalltv.php whilst we’re discussing live scores). Also, the simple scorecards are now joined by match centres, which to us seem only to serve to slow the site down. There is far too much information on the page.
We should also point out that Cricinfo has a mobile app, which seems to cut out a lot of the unnecessary flab and works marvelously and effortlessly. No, seriously, it does.
The other, massive, strength of the website is its link with Wisden, meaning that literally shitloads of old Wisden articles are stored online. This archive often seems hidden away on the site, when it should be a core component. Which brings us on to one of the main problems with it – as it has grown over time, it has become completely messy and much harder to navigate than it should be. Just look at the front page (which extends way down beyond the visible part on the screen). An overhaul is required.
Firstly, news should be separated from opinion and from analysis. Too often one reads an article and cannot tell whether it is reporting factual happenings or is offering insight into the matter. From these main headings, the site can be divided further, if necessary – but at present there seems to be too many strands with little discernible differences. There is The Cordon and there is Page 2 and there is The Stands – but no real indication of what these sections are and why they exist.
We also think the front page should be designed simpler. It is overflowing with different links and sections, plus various videos. At least the videos on the homepage don’t start playing automatically, unlike some of the videos now embedded within news articles. Seriously, self-playing videos on websites that aren’t primarily streaming sites are the most heinous, hideous and horrific crimes ever imagined by humankind.
Further problems have developed as the site strives to become modern. It seems to love interraction with the readership. Now, this is important on many websites (leave a comment below, please please please leave a comment below), and Cricinfo understandably wants to build upon basic social media functions to create ongoing discussion and feedback. However we would prefer this to be separated from the main body of work. So remove all comments and interractive bits and create a new social area of the site: messageboards, real-time discussions etc etc (to be fair, this might already by in The Stands section, but we dare not venture in there, for fear of being accused of many many things, only some of which are true). We want the website for news, opinion and analysis. We don’t want it to read what SachinKohli200 thinks about MS Dhoni (although we appreciate that this brings traffic and that reading – and being offended by – views of others is an integral part of modern internet usage).
The website also seems to want to encompass many many things, rather than a specialist site. It may be first for comprehensive coverage of breaking news, and have a varied assortment of columnists, but it also tries to be funny. And it fails. Trust us, we know all about being unfunny. Cartoons that generate a handful of wildly over-the-top praising comments and millions of others staring blankly at the supposed joke. Spoof stories and parodies that quite literally are as funny as trapping your penis in a collapsible clothes horse. These serve no purpose and should be sent to Cricket365 instead.
Oh and stop fucking crashing our browser.