“We shouldn’t sacrifice user experience for the sake of looking good and contemporary.”
Interesting notion but I think I would disagree.
David Carson’s work in SURFER Magazine is a good example. He created layouts where words were unreadable and photos were jumbled. Was it a “poor” user experience? Maybe for those reading the articles. But for others, it was an exciting experience flipping through the magazine. Did more people buy SURFER because of it? Absolutely. Was it a design well done? I’d say so.
If a designer’s INTENTION is to be unreadable or not useful (or they have some other intention in mind), then we should critique the design on whether it’s doing that thing. If a site has a really small type and it’s intention is for users to read the content, then that’s a mistake.
I think the debate comes back to the point of the World Wide Web. Is it supposed to be accessible to all or more of an expression of a brand?