The traditional hostility between usability and design is nothing but a myth. Usable sites can have a wonderful layout and viceversa (unless you are called Nielsen, of course! ). Furthermore, “bleeding-edge” designers are normally able to create relatively usable sites if they need to, while some usability oriented designers might be aware of the need of a fine layout; a good example could be http://www.alistapart.com

So who on earth feeds this futile controversy? IMHO, three different species: politicians, gurus and fundamentalists.

At the top of the hierarchy we find usab gurus, a good example being (surprise surprise) Nielsen. But we also find the Macromedian Politicians, paid by the corporation in order to convert users to their cause. While Nielsen needs money to subsist, Macromedia’s ultimate goal is to get more income. But there is also a third group: the Fundamentalists. Fundamentalists are the followers.

It is us followers who make big corporations even stronger. It is us followers who validate gurus’ ideas. By defending flash against the evil hordes of usability, or by saying that flash is 299% bad, we are basically perpetuating the Statos Quo and paying big dividends to the instigators of the fight.

Flash is not the ultimate web design tool; we all know it’s bugginess and the chunkiness of the player when confronted with lots of tweens. Usability is not “the ultimate discipline” but one amongst others.

So what do we do? I would explore everything, learn everything from any idea even if extremist. But I would not like to become a follower: let’s create our own paradigms!