This has started to drive me absolutely insane. They give the UI straight to the graphic designers right out of the gate, then hand it over to us developers to implement. The closest I can get to having usability input is when we do short peer reviews where we can add our 'suggestions and comments' or I wait until development and testing period and 'hi-jack' some really critical things.
The biggest problem is that I think they don't get the difference between something being pretty and something being usable, and worse still they don't get that usability has some hard facts in it.
For example I was looking over a marketing blog feed where there was only the first few lines of the blog and then it cuts you off and has a 'READ MORE' link that takes you to the full read. The 'READ MORE' link was on the left side of the column whereas the text ended on the right side and my eye was just let hanging and I felt initially like there was some missing content until I finally looked around and found the link. To me, this is a broken design. My eye should go right to the link I need to click to read more. However when I bring this up all I get is 'but it's over there to create balance but I will consider the change'.
I really need help figuring out a way to convince them that there is a difference. Even our QA team things they are doing usability by testing an application to make sure it works, but what they are doing is still slightly different. Yeah they will iron out some major confusions, but it's still not usability!
How can I educate people, especially when they are so pegged in their beliefs and practices?