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An informal, stream-of-consciousness reflection on business ideas, events and issues in modern business, modern life and with some specifics to the web-software industry by Paul Tomori, Internet Entrepreneur

Less is Better
An argument against Flash

By Paul Tomori
Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 17:15:27 (EST)

So, what constitutes good website design these days? In my view, not much has changed from 10 years ago. A balance of function and form never seems to grow old. One thing that troubles me is the lack of good judgement. For example, I think Flash on a movie promo website is expected and usually delightful. You go there expecting to see a trailer - usually you wait, but you get the trailer you were expecting.

However, the average Fortune 500 company does not need Flash on their homepage. People are just wanting to get to the information about the company. The worst is when you get a pre-homepage.... you know the kind... there is a long countdown so that some absurdly unnecesary Flash movie can download. Then 45 seconds later, you finally get to the homepage, perhaps just to check the stock price. It is unbearable.

By contrast, check out Berkshire Hathaway's website (the CEO of this company happens to be the richest guy in the world): www.berkshirehathaway.com

Did you see it?

Is that all you ask?

Yep, that's it.

Nevermind Flash, there is not even a logo here!

And you know what.. I LOVE the site. You get instant access to Annual reports, news and more RIGHT AWAY. I don't go to such a website to be entertained (or to wait even 10 seconds more than necessary).... I go to get information... the written word. Yes, the written word actually has value and is demonstrably more important than whiz-bang graphics to Mr. BigBucks Buffett.

Think of Yahoo! This company has been dropping like a rock and just can't seem to do anything right. They once were the internet's greatest light... Untouchable. And little by little, their homepage got more and more cluttered with garbage links, advertising, everything-to-everyone nonsense. I remember thinking "Is this the evolution of web design?" And then along came Google with all that glorious whitespace and a simple search box to get people instant access to what they REALLY craved and to what REALLY mattered: information. Who would have thought that less was more? Actually, less isn't more, because "more" implies better. Less is just less. And, often, less is just better.

For the richest man in the world (Warren Buffett), less fluff is integral on his website. For Google, less fluff got them to the top.

There is a lesson to be learned here somewhere.

So, here's a call to all sensible web designers. Think twice before building an elaborate Flash intro or Flash-driven website and deliver what really matters: information that people can use... quickly.

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