So Mr. Nielsen, who is evidently officially now a "guru," has some new things to say about web users and usability:
Web users have always been ruthless and now are even more so.... People want sites to get to the point, they have very little patience.... I do not think sites appreciate that yet. They still feel that their site is interesting and special and people will be happy about what they are throwing at them.
As usual, I agree with him in his assessment, and disagree with him when it comes to proposed solutions. Web users are absolutely becoming more selfish, and, from a design perspective, it is of course extremely important to understand how to make information on the web accessible and available.
I don't think web producers should immediately bow to the demands of selfish users. I don't think web production should be distilled down to a handful of design and content standards from which we never deviate. Granted, if your particular web production is a wide-reaching corporate effort, then user demands have more weight. But filter that down to smaller businesses, or independent artistic efforts (believe it or not, I put blogs in that latter category), and the rules can, and should, be more flexible.
Think of web services as similar to food services - if you want something expected, fast, and cheap, you go to McDonald's. If you're more concerned with quality, experience, and originality, you find a smaller, local restaurant. You're taking a risk with the second option - you might not like what you get, and it may be a waste of time and money. But, if you don't want to subsist on McDonald's fare, those risks are reasonable, even necessary, to take.
When I want to find something specific, I want everything to work quickly and perfectly, too. And when web producers don't take the time to solve simple mistakes like basic functionality and navigation, they might lose me. But I'm also willing to admit that a gentle reminder, deliberate or not, to slow the hell down from time to time, and think a bit more about what I'm doing, or a bit more about the content with which I'm interacting, is not a bad thing at all.