Duroc : How far can you push a tomato?

Duroc is a Morocco-based tomato grower that pushes form way beyond function with its website

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The feature

Duroc is a Moroccan company with 14 farms producing 37,000 tonnes of snacking tomatoes annually. We know this from its site, which flashes bites of information up as it builds - the process takes about a minute on a fast connection, with the progress illustrated by a slowly-completing 'tomato'. A lively music track plays in the background.

The site then settles into a patchwork of brightly coloured panels with a few words visible - including About, Product and Values. Clicking 'About' - which can also be done by mousing over the panels until the word 'About' is shown - a long page appears with a timeline as well as extra links, including 'Love to work' and 'Production'. Clicking any of these generates another page with a small amount of text (an animated sequence is triggered when any link is clicked). 'Love to work' describes the company's commitment to its workers, but we were unable to find any job offers.

The various product pages link to a brochure that contains brief specifications for the products, while the values area include pages on environmental compliance, R&D and the Sanady Foundation. The site is available in English and French, though the opening sequence is only in English.

The takeaway

Is this the most unusable site we have ever come across? Or the best looking? We can make a case for both. If you want to find any real information, you will likely be frustrated; if you want to find it quickly, you will be infuriated. But if you are a supermarket buyer looking for a new source of tomatoes, you will have to have a heart of stone not enjoy staring at the site in some amazement.

Whether this is 'appropriate' (our favourite word) depends on what Duroc is trying to achieve. If it is trying give potential customers (or anyone else) quick access to useful information, it fails miserably. But if it is trying to say 'Hey, we are not as other tomato growers are!' it is something of a triumph. It might be sensible, however, to give visitors a nice easy way to find out the facts they need without having to play random games of 'move the mouse' all the time.

First published 05 December, 2017
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