After reading a few usability and interface design pattern books, I kind of realized that human behavior patterns is more important than interface design patterns. The design patterns are created based on how users react to an application. This makes me think that if I really wanted to know ‘web usability,’ I should go study the psychology of users first.
As most usability/user interface related books would evangelize to make things easier for the users because users ‘do not want to think or users would get turned off with a complicated interface,’ I do not think that applies to all things. I have greater faith that users are not that lazy. I believe they just choose which application they want to invest their energy on. If it is a ‘pop application,’ I believe they will not waste time using it. But if it is an application that has value to them, I believe users will be happy to invest time to learn it.
So I could say that reliability and consistency of an application are still what make it a winner. But it will not hurt for creators to make it pretty and pleasant to use.