I am writing some UX Guidelines for our organization which is a Software as a Service business. Our organization relies heavily on Presentations, Marking Material, as well as our Software.

I don't want the documentation to be web specific, instead it would cite best practices of User Experience using different mediums as examples.

The problem

I am struggling to understand how to categorize the following situations I would like to use as examples for UX considerations.

Example A:

Consider how your users will access your product. A marketing bi-fold will be distributed at various locations that will sit them a shelf that may have a ledge in front of it. This ledge would be used to ensure the brochures don't fall off. As such consider what designs will be blocked by this shelf and ensure this is not an enticing proposition to pick up the brochure.

^ In this example we are discussing how to user will access your product but online examples of accessibility seem to discuss physical limitations considerations of the person not the situation.

Example B:

When inviting external colleagues or clients to call into meetings, consider that the user may not know its is a long distance phone number or not until the moment they try to call in. if this was a long distance number it would create for frustrating experiences for your users which may drive to not be present in the meeting or make they may feel your not detail oriented or inconsiderate. A potential client should not have to pay to meet with us.

The Question

Are these above examples consider a usability or accessibility issue?

  • 1
    Sometimes it is useful to wait a little bit before accepting an answer, since people tend to be more willing to submit an answer while it is still open. But if you have the answer that you need and are happy with it that's also fine :)
    – Michael Lai
    Aug 4, 2018 at 0:17

1 Answer 1


Yes, there are many details that go into anyone accessing something, but as most often used in UX, accessibility refers to a person with a disability having equivalent access to that of a person without a disability.

In the first case, it is a usability problem for all users: the interference of the ledge prevents effectively scanning for the most relevant literature. I might refer to this as simply visibility. On the other hand, if the shelf and ledge are too high, people using a wheel chair or who are shorter than average may have an additional burden in that they may not be able to see or reach the literature without assistance; that would be an accessibility problem.

In the second case, if they do not know it is long distance (e.g. it is somehow hidden in an interface) then that is a usability problem. If they are aware, but it is not worth it to them, then it is perhaps more a problem with values or trust, which are still part of UX but not directly what one might call usability.

You might find Frank Guo's take on UX useful as one way to start breaking things down in your head.

  • 1
    +1 Do you mind also summarizing Frank Guo's take on UX just so the answer is more complete (and also because it is a nice thing to do)? :)
    – Michael Lai
    Aug 4, 2018 at 0:16
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    There's a design approach called Universal Design, which means that if you design for disabled people, the design often is better for everyone. universaldesign.ie/What-is-Universal-Design
    – PhillipW
    Aug 4, 2018 at 13:23
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    OXO tools are an example of this: oxo.com/our-philosophy
    – PhillipW
    Aug 4, 2018 at 13:27
  • @MichaelLai I will try to do that soon but right now buying a house and moving so things are crazy! :-)
    – MJBE
    Aug 14, 2018 at 21:46

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