Billion Dollar Webpage

Curator: OKFocus
date: August 26, 2013
Categories: Brand & Identity Design, Corporate Communications Design, Experience Design
Tags: Berkshire Hathaway, OKFocus, Ryder Ripps, Semantic HTML as Design, Tim-Berners Lee, Warren Buffett
Berkshire Hathaway website screenshot

HTML and Industrialist Design. 

When trying to sound smart, people often open with some type of quote or unrelated story. So after googling “industrial design quotes” I found a wonderful page titled  “80 inspiring quotes about design.” I would like to share the following two quotes to open this blog entry:

Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration. —Jeffrey Zeldman

Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.
—Charles Eames

With web design you can really go nuts. Since I started using the internet around 1996, the landscape has greatly changed, from the era of amateur web designers carving out their internet through expressive beveled buttons and animated page-rules (Geocities) to the dazzling animations purveyed by 2ADVANCED that treated the web like some sort of action movie (Flash) to the era of garish use of gradients and sans-serif (web 2.0). Here there are no rules. After all, Khoi Vinh made a name for himself by applying the concept of Müller-Brockmann’s grid to the internet. 

In this rapidly evolving land with design patterns of fluidity, what are the constants? What are the building blocks of design? Furniture designers see the chair as fundamental, architects see the home, 3-D renderers see the teapot. Whoever built Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway site got right to the core of what web design is, and in doing so, made a thing of beauty. The website perfectly reflects the values of the company—no bulls***. This function-driven website uses no CSS as it perfectly organizes the many complexities of information required to communicate. If you navigate the site, two things become clear: it looks as though it was made in 1995 and it’s really easy to use (the latter being more important). Once something transcends aesthetic and just becomes “easy to use” is perhaps a definition of “good design.” 

That isn’t to say the site’s design is sans-personality. Quite the opposite. The Berkshire Hathaway website is loud, with no shortage of attitude in its reactionary stance to not succumb to the fickle design trends that fade in and out from year to year. As designers, we all have a lot to learn from the Berkshire Hathaway website. If we focus on good semantic layout in our HTML, we will be one big step closer to creating the perfect design.


Source code from the Berkshire Hathaway website

Jing Ulrich
Warren Buffett and Jing Ulrich

Post via Ryder Ripps, E.C.D., OKFocus
  • Ryankelly

    So fucking what

  • Bill Brown

    Oh my God this website, Berkshire Hathaway, made me laugh. I did not actually think it would embody design like it’s 1995. 

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate the thought process behind the article, but I would argue that the site code would be more semantic if the style were specified as CSS and separated from the HTML content. Mixing the two isn’t simplicity, it’s substandard form.

  • Elanie Blais

    Interesting.

  • Victor Ware

    I agree. Moreover, there’s no navigation on any of the sub level pages. Just a bunch of dead ends.

blog comments powered by Disqus