The reason Nielsen makes his point so strongly in his title is that people rarely think A–Z.
For most questions, either:So there is often good reason to consider alternative approaches. Nielsen goes on to give examples of other, more effective listing strategies for specific scenarios.
- users don't know the name of the thing they want, making A–Z listings useless; or
- the items have an inherent logic that dictates a different sort order, which makes A–Z listings directly harmful because they hide that logic.
Alphabetical Sorting Must (Mostly) Die - article by Jakob Nielsen
Craig Tomlin has written a good follow up article which goes into detail about how and when alphabetical sorting might be the best option.
Why Jakob Nielsen got it (mostly) wrong - article by Craig Tomlin on usefulusability.com