“Fancy media on websites typically fails user testing. Simple text and clear photos not only communicate better with users, they also enhance users’ feeling of control and thus support the Web’s mission as an instant gratification environment.” Jakob Nielsen
—Low-End Media for User EmpowermentAlertBox)
There’s nothing stunning in this post, but it’s presented in the matter-of-fact, straightforward way that infuriates the “wow them with cool design” crowd. Nielsen also notes that search engines are attracted to text. There is currently no way to index the audio or visual messages (apart from trying to guess the media content based on the surrounding text). Of course there are some websites where multimedia is vital to the function of the site — an archvie of animated clips, for example. A designer can probably assume that a visitor to Homestarruner, for example, has a fast enough connection to appreciate animated menus.