Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lionel Poilâne

Lionel Poilâne. Very special bread. But what a dumb web site. There are two obvious buttons to press: "our shops", which leads to the physical shops' info, which I don't need since I'm on the web, and the bread icons at the bottom: these don't give any information about each type of bread, instead they just add a loaf to your cart, before you know anything about it.
Also it attempts to give a "virtual shop" experience with a big picture, something which was tried in the nineties and discarded because it's just stupid. And it's a poor Flash site, you can't use auto-fill of forms, and you can't enlarge the very tiny text. Further, it has animated arrows and a little dog's head (!) which keep distracting.

I don't think this is in the spirit of Lionel Poilâne, who was about simplicity. But I may persevere, since they apparently still make the bread in his spirit.

Update: I managed to find a description of the products: I clicked on "Company" at the top, and then at "bakery goods" at the extreme bottom.

TTL points to this, very funny.


Joe Dick said...

It is very awkward to use. Better than nothing but not by much. :-)

sethgodin said...

Lionel never liked the web. He wanted people to come in person. He knew he could never be 'best in the world' online, so he worked hard not to try...

eolake said...

So it was "best in the world" or nothing? I guess I can recognize the attitude, but I am not sure it's really all that productive. I mean, even if we were to accept the idea that nothing but "best in the world" has any value, then there is the aspect that "best" is very subjective.

eolake said...

Also, I can understand the charm of the idea of people coming in, in person, but what if you don't live in France? I think it's a pity to block people off from a good product just because they can't afford the plane ticket to go visit your store. Or just haven't heard about them.

Obviously Lionel was a beautiful man. And clearly he did not block a site from appearing. I'm just saying that even good beliefs and principles can be counter-productive if held too firmly.

ttl said...

The site could certainly use some redesigning. But the product looks delicious. Keep us posted, Eo, on how it turns out if you order something.

There is apparently a bit of a revival going on with good bread. (And the Internet may even have something to do with it.) Bread historian and connoisseur Steven Kaplan's intreview on Conan was both hilarious and informational on this very subject. And if you want to dig even deeper, get his book Good Bread Is Back.

eolake said...

I have ordered some.

I also ordered some a couple of years back, a couple of times. The bread is unique. It isn't comfort food, so it may be an acquired taste for many, especially children. But it's really nice.

I respect that there are only three kinds. Too big a selection can dilute a brand.

Joe Dick said...

I won't be ordering because it has to come a lot further for me. You're just in England so that isn't too bad. I don't know how good it would be by the time it reached me, and I don't know if the shipping might too much to justify.