Jakob Nielsen is the Pointy-Haired Boss of Usability

I find the amount of attention Jakob Nielsen attracts somewhat fascinating, where fascination = people slowing down as they drive past the scene of an accident.

He is at it again, predicting that “liberation from search engines will be one of the biggest strategic issues for websites in the coming years” in “Search Engines as Leeches on the Web” his most recent Alertbox.

How will websites do this?

Well, he doesn’t start his research on this until next week, so “RSS might work” is the best he can do for advice on feeds. Yes, the man writes an alertbox, which to most people might indicate a certain timeliness as well as importance, and he hasn’t even started research on RSS. His first recommendation? Email newsletters. They are “the ultimate way to maintain a relationship.”

It isn’t that he’s always wrong, but that when he isn’t, he isn’t current enough to be relevant, either.

Search is one path to a site; it has never been the only one. With an ever-increasing participant audience, traditional search will not even be the most important path. Social-software enabled conversations will create the important paths.

Social software doesn’t even make Nielsen’s list. Which is sad, like the “efforts” of the pointy-haired boss.

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