If it has poor usability its actually bad design, because design isn't just visual style.

If visual style wins out over usability then its ALWAYS BAD DESIGN.

There is no way around it... Unless this is some highly specialized site like a quirky flash game or something else that we are not concerned with here.

If you can't work usability into the visual style that you have in mind then you need to step back and re-think the way you work.

Accessibility shares many aspects with usability because not all accessibility concerns regard markup and features for highly impaired users. However generally for most accessibility guidelines following them will improve usability for your average user too.

James Jeffery wrote:
Good Evening.

Does Or Should Design Out-Weight Usability and/or Accessibility?

Ive been faced with a number of situations during development on a number of projects that has forced me make a choice you have all probably had to make Usability/Accessibility
over design.

I know Usability and Accessibility are very different subjects, but they are both just as important. The users experience should be a good one, its sort of like a shop keeper or store manager, he has to make sure both non-disabled and disabled shoppers are happy when shopping, otherwise they wont come back. The shop keeper also would have to try to make a disabled persons shopping trip a good one, because after all, disabled
shoppers deserve the same access as non-disabled shoppers.

Bringing it back to web development, personally i think that a disabled user deserves to browse the internet with the same level of support and access as non disabled

And back to the question, should design come before Usability/Accessibility?

Sometimes you can do both, such as Image Replacement, or you can offer visually impaired users a version of your site with high contrasting colors. But there are times when designers and developers do things either without thinking about disabled users or thinking 'Stuff them, i want my hi-end graphical interface on my site' or 'Stuff them, i have no time to make it accessible' or even 'Stuff them, the fonts need
to me tiny so my design looks good'.
There are many more possibilities for a developer/design to not bother or not choose
accessibility first.

My take on all this is basically, if you have to make a choice and there is no way around it, think about your users first, not yourself and what you want, because
you are not the one using the site.

There is often times when things are just not possible, people insist on hacking around it, which often causes more problems and needs more hacks. But if something cant
be done, leave it out, and wait.
In the past, with CSS1 a lot of things were not possible, which later became possible
with newer versions.

Web Standards, Accessibility and Usability needs to be put right at the top of the list, way before design. Focus on the users and the people, and it will help to create and bring the internet up to a better standard. Im not sure if there is a law
in every country regarding Accessibility but there needs to be one.

This is just my take on things, but i would love to know what everyone else thinks. I'm in the middle of writing an article for a magazine, some views from both
ends of the scale would be great. Its an important topic i feel.

Thanks Guys.

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