Jacob Nielsen’s recent article on the BBC carried the title Web 2.0 ‘neglecting good design’. I would agree that those sites that implement AJAXy eye candy are not doing their users a service, but I also believe that used well, ‘web 2.0’ elements can add to the user experience. Flash-based sites, however remain in the absolute toilet of web offerings and should be avoided at all cost.
I also take Mr Nielsen’s views with a grain of salt as he seems to have this near luddite view of the web being a text-only medium (though I note that he is actually including a link to a video on his site now). All other interaction and decoration seemingly spurious in his thought. I, however, think there is an intelligent application of any of the new features. After all, it’s about usability, not one man’s aesthetic.