The Web would be a different place without Jakob Nielsen. Known as the usability guru and voice of reason in web design circles, he’s come up with an interesting piece about missing the forest for the trees when it comes to Web 2.0.
At a time when Ajax is the new ‘dancing baby’ or site must-have, Nielsen argues on his blog that "irrelevant website "enhancements" diminish profits because they indicate a failure to focus on those simpler design issues that actually increase sales and leads."
It’s interesting that once again Nielsen attempts to steer website creation to be more user-centric, instead of being influenced by current design ‘fads’. He comments not just on Ajax but questions mashups, advertising-funded business models and community and user-generated tools for sites that don’t need them.
Yes, Web 2.0 bells-and-whistles are pretty but not always necessary. But Nielsen can come across as rigid and all about the bottom line. Not that I don’t think ROI is something to ignore but I shudder at the thought of vanilla-dull, ‘safe’ websites that cater only to the lowest common denominator.