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  1. #1
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    12th largest company in the world, possibly worst website ever seen.

    I was checking out some of the 2007 fortune 500 list's websites and stumbled upon http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/ the 12th largest company, overseen by warren buffet. At first I thought someone must be holding the URL hostage, but evidentially that is not the case, and last I checked it is not April 1st.

  2. #2
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Warren E. Buffett is a no nonsense guy. Just look at the crumpled suits he wears. The website suits him just fine
    Ulrike
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  3. #3
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    But how about his shareholders, hehe? I respect warren and his crumpled suits but this is just non-sense. Warren of all people should understand the importance of functionality and the current site is far from it.

  4. #4
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Question is who is the website for? Shareholders? I'm sure they'd rather see the dividends in their bank than being splashed on a pretty website.

  5. #5
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstegner View Post
    But how about his shareholders, hehe? I respect warren and his crumpled suits but this is just non-sense. Warren of all people should understand the importance of functionality and the current site is far from it.
    What's not functional about it? It's a list of links to documents, it works exactly as intended. They're giving their audience (investors and financial industry wonks) exactly what they want/need with no frills.

    Yeah the site pretty much has no style to it but I wouldn't call that "bad".

    ps Buffett gave away 2/3 of his fortune but that was their web design budget

  6. #6
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstegner View Post
    But how about his shareholders, hehe?
    The shareholders don't care about the website, they care about the cash he is earning them.

    It's not like he has to advertise to get clients so he has to worry about people getting turned off because of his website.

  7. #7
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstegner View Post
    But how about his shareholders, hehe? I respect warren and his crumpled suits but this is just non-sense. Warren of all people should understand the importance of functionality and the current site is far from it.
    The website is probably just a peripheral. His customers are not much into tech stuff. I doubt that he made the wrong move here, he is too shrewd for that.
    Ulrike
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  8. #8
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Datura View Post
    The website is probably just a peripheral. His customers are not much into tech stuff. I doubt that he made the wrong move here, he is too shrewd for that.
    And lets not forget that sometimes the best design is un-design. Look at Craigslist, ebay etc.

  9. #9
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    They are the 12th largest company in the fortune 500. Their are millions of people that would consider the site intended for them, apart from only shareholders.

    Simple design is great, as long as it is functional. Having no headings, and everything under two unordered lists with no real organization and the descriptive text in a font too small to read.

    I disagree completely with you.

  10. #10
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia View Post
    And lets not forget that sometimes the best design is un-design. Look at Craigslist, ebay etc.
    I agree. Simplicity is a virtue in many cases
    Ulrike
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  11. #11
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstenger
    Having no headings, and everything under two unordered lists with no real organization and the descriptive text in a font too small to read.
    Okay so they add
    HTML Code:
    <h2>Documents</h2>
    Does that really aid in your understanding of what's in those lists?

  12. #12
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    There is a difference between simple and bad, this being the latter. Also even in it's simplicity it failed validation with 33 errors.

    simple and good would be like this http://www.artlebedev.com/everything/

  13. #13
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    Is it pretty? No. Does it break in browsers? No. Does it work for the intended purpose? Yes.

    Now, if you want to talk about a horribly constructed horror of late 90s javascript, go visit American Express . . .

  14. #14
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    In order. No. By W3C standards--I think we are all for standards--it should. No.

    And yes the lack of headers makes a difference, you guys know this. Is the website going to be a complete failure because someone has to read through every links to find what it is they are looking for? No. But if that is what we are calling good or even acceptable design these days, then we are taking a big step backwards.

    Everyone of us that has put any time into reading about the correct ways of displaying information to make a document easier to understand and navigate should be able to appreciate what a failure Warren's site is in that respect.

    Let's just spend our time commending good design rather then trying to justify bad design.

  15. #15
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    No one is calling it the most remarkable semantic website, or the best design. But it serves its purpose. Yes it is a failure as a meaningful, easy to use document, but its no worse than many web pages that were created at the time (which is to say, it reeks of early web design and probably laid out with tables)

  16. #16
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    "Let's just spend our time commending good design rather then trying to justify bad design."

    it was your hyperbole that suggested this site was at the top of a list of badly designed sites. if it had been a non-profit organization, would you have felt as strongly or even taken time to post ? I doubt it.

    Mark-up aside, it's not pretty but it's functional.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgm_03 View Post
    [B]"
    it was your hyperbole that suggested this site was at the top of a list of badly designed sites. if it had been a non-profit organization, would you have felt as strongly or even taken time to post ? I doubt it.
    It was never suggested that it was "at the top of a list of badly designed sites". If it was for a non-profit organization I would not have felt as strongly.

    That was the point of the post. It was the fact that it was such a highly respected corporation that made me feel so strongly about it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia View Post
    And lets not forget that sometimes the best design is un-design. Look at Craigslist, ebay etc.
    There's a distinct difference between breaking the guidelines to create an "un-design" that's good, and just making crappy art. You can't simply consider something good design because a company became successful despite their poorly designed website.

    Andy Rutledge has several great articles which deal this the topic of this whole thread, and some interesting remakes of these websites in his "Redux" section (not sure that I agree with some of his remakes, but his point is well taken). Here's the link:

    http://www.andyrutledge.com/

  19. #19
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrogJD2 View Post
    There's a distinct difference between breaking the guidelines to create an "un-design" that's good, and just making crappy art. You can't simply consider something good design because a company became successful despite their poorly designed website.
    While that's true, design is also sensitive to context. Let's take a look at the BH site:

    BH was big and famous long before the internet, and it will continue to be big and well-known for quite some time. None of their business really comes from the internet, nor would it be easy to move to a system like that. The company website then either becomes a) a corporate portal that explains a little bit about the company (or more likely, what the company wants you to think/learn about them) or b) a place for BH to dump their filing documents to the public as required by the SEC and a place for investors to find said documents.

    A is not that useful to BH since they're a household name among those who would use their services. B is what you have on the site, and it does that job well enough. Could it be better? Yeah, something like a document search function on the site would probably be great. Is it important enough to get on right away? Probably not to the company, nor to its investors.

    I've worked in the industry BH is in before; the only sites you really get are A or B or sometimes a little mix of both. Everyone sees right through A, and I haven't seen many similar companies do better than BH in their documents sections, stylesheet or not.

    And notice how I never said this was "good" design. I don't necessarily consider it "good", just "good enough" for its intended purpose. But it's not necessarily "bad" either.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Addict WarpNacelle's Avatar
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    <META NAME="GENERATOR" CONTENT="Adobe PageMill 2.0 Win">

    Wow! No wonder!


  21. #21
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    The truth of the matter is a simple one.

    Web designers are not the target audience for this site so why should they care what website designers think?

    Does it meet their investor and corporate needs? Yes.

    End of story.

  22. #22
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    This website is just a little bit obscene regarding the massive amount of cash, BH piled up

  23. #23
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    I like it! It's refreshing.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

    SAGEWING LLC - QUALITY WEB AND MOBILE APPS. PREMIUM OUTSOURCING SERVICES.
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  24. #24
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    I expected to see horrible backgrounds, bloated tables and animated gifs. Glad I didn't.

    It's very basic, but as long as it's functional, it works. Plus it doesn't look very much different when you turn CSS styles off!

  25. #25
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainlink View Post
    This website is just a little bit obscene regarding the massive amount of cash, BH piled up
    The guy is a pinch-penny. That is how he made his money, by not spending on stuff that seems unimportant to him. A website is one of the things. His style of investing is also a style that does not appeal to the younger generations much, so not to have a website with bells and whistles is perfectly fine from his standpoint, his clients are the generation that is not very active on the net
    Ulrike
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