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Im creating a dashboard webpage for desktop and have a side bar as a navigation. The title is white and the dashboard names are white.

When looking at it, the white color makes it seem as if the dashboard names are not clickable. I've tried other colors to indicate that the text is clickable but is not very "aesthetic" looking with a gray background and some of them make it difficult to read. The only way someone would know its clickable is if they hover over it and the state of the text changes.

At what point is usability over design is much more important? Is there a specific threshold?

  • 1- Attach a picture of your design, so someone can easily know where the issue is. 2- what kind of usability testing you are going to use ? – Serag Alzentani Jun 27 '16 at 15:03
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    A quote from Steve Jobs: "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." – jazZRo Jun 27 '16 at 15:11
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You have heard the expression "Form follows Function"?

You mention usability over design, but I suspect what you really meant was usability over visual design. Usability (function) always comes before visual design (form).

If a third to half your participants struggled (even if they eventually figure it out) then this would indicate you have a usability problem.

The more affordance you give to the links the easier this will be to use.

For example, if links look like regular text, you acknowledge the usability challenge, so something needs to change. You can do this using styling, e.g. underline the link, and if possible using a different font colour, as well as utilising mouse cursor pointer icon and keyboard focus highlighting.

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The first thing is usability is a part of the Design. You might be talking of another aspect of design i.e. Creativity. I think referring the UX Magazine Design Pyramid will help you understand why Usability is a part of the foundation. Functionality is not same as usability. The order goes like -

  1. Functionality
  2. Reliability
  3. Usability
  4. Proficiency
  5. Creativity

For more details, please read my blog post.

Please feel free to share your design or about the intended user-base for more specific inputs.

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