A recent post on Farmer & Farmer has taken the words right out of my mouth on the subject of user-centered design on the web. Designers are designers for a reason, but so many seem afraid to let their imaginations run wild. A number of websites seem to be moving towards the trend of dumbing down their designs, making them ultra simple and calling it "user-centered, minimalist design" when, in reality, it's lazy design. Minimalist does not mean "lots of white space". It means "absence of bullshit". The same is said for user-centered design. It doesn't mean "primary colors". It means "beautifully logical".
If you asked people in 1989 what they needed to make their life better, it was unlikely that they would have said a decentralized network of information nodes that are linked using hypertext.
-- Sep Kamvar
I couldn't have said it better1.