Last August we wrote about the decline of Cricinfo, which generated a record number of comments, some of which may have been genuine. Basically, the homepage was a mess, the videos loaded automatically, it was hard to navigate, they wanted too much interraction with the readers and there was too much information on each match page. At the same time, we acknowledged that their app was fantastic.
In the run-up to the World Cup, the website underwent a bit of a refurb. And the app was updated. The change, amazingly, has exacerbated the problems. But at least the site no longer crashes our browser.
Mercifully, videos no longer auto-play, meaning we can put away the molotov cocktail and delete the route from the 51allout shed to the Cricinfo offices from Google Maps. But the website is still an utter mess. Indeed, so bad is the website that seldom have we used it during the World Cup, apart from looking at the scores. Pretty much all the elements we criticised in August remain valid.
And the app? Oh the app. The previous reincarnation was snappy, with clean lines and crisp colours, with smooth navigation between sections. It was a joy to use and one could idly browse the app for ages. But now it stinks. The homepage is as dull as very dull dishwater. The search function is for players only (i.e. a search for ‘ask steven’ does not reveal the Ask Steven feature – which incidentally is far less interesting than it once was – but states no player found). Only the devil knows why the records section is suddenly very limited. If 51allout ever did an app, we know what to avoid. It really is that bad.
For coverage of the World Cup, the official app is much better, which is incredible seeing as it is formally associated with the ICC. It is full of videos that work (and that are usually up-to-date), instant statistics and reliable scorecards.
Seriously, Cricinfo used to be our comfort blanket of website, one that we could happily lose ourselves in to avoid the misery of this thing called life. Now, we’d rather hug a blanket stained by Mark Cosgrove’s dirty protest than spend more than five minutes on the site. The only redeeming feature is that they employ Simon Barnes, but this is offset by the long list of other blithering numpties who contribute.
Mind you, if Cricinfo’s editors are reading this and would like some more blithering numpties to contribute: we’re listening.