The more I study UI Consistency and improving the user experience, and the more feedback I hear from customers who use accessibility features, I’m really starting to wonder if Usability and Accessibility are really just two sides of the same coin?

Yes, there is a difference between the two.

  • Usability – how well a user understands the UI
  • Accessibility – the ability to use the UI

Is it possible to have one without the other?  Is it possible to have good usability without good accessibility?  Is it possible to have good accessibility without good usability?  Let’s say that i have perfect MSAA support for a feature that works perfectly with Assistive Technologies.  Is it possible to have good usability without having good accessibility?

I don’t know yet.

I’m leaning towards “no, you can’t have one without the other because they are the same thing.”  During one of my 28 hours worth of meetings this week, I mentioned that if i went to graduate school for CS, i would probably write my thesis on this topic.

What do you think?