Sports Illustrated launched a newly redesigned website this morning, and while it’s only been a couple of hours, it seems like you can once again visit SI.com without it turning your computer or phone into a brick.
Two years ago SI.com was redesigned, with the attendant fanfare in the trade press and phrases like “responsive design” and “content tiles.” The problem, however, was that the new site fucking sucked. If you were lucky enough it was only abysmally slow, but for many people it froze or crashed their computers. Articles wouldn’t scroll, it was impossible to read on a phone without clicking an ad seven times, and even when everything worked, navigation bars and menus took up three-quarters of the screen.
But the worst part was that the redesign rendered the Vault—Sports Illustrated’s amazing collection of covers, articles, and photos going back 60 years—absolutely useless. All old links to it were broken, and there was no way to search through the decades of cool material. It was so bad that the Vault was redesigned in March, five months ahead of the rest of the site.
Want to really know how bad it was? Here’s new Sports Illustrated editorial director Chris Stone answering a question about the redesign last month, speaking about as frankly he could without outright saying the site was awful. Via Nieman:
You could go to the site right now. I don’t even know that I need to explain it much further. Right now, it’s not at the level at it needs to be from a functionality standpoint, from an aesthetics standpoint. We can’t begin to tell a new story without fixing our product.
If you see a Sports Illustrated employee today, give them a high-five, or perhaps buy them a beer. They hated that site more than any of us, and had to work with it every day.