Ok, stop. I totally agree with your thesis and POV, but guidelines cannot 100% declare how usability can be measured. They simply cannot.
It’s a big problem that developers and designers too often work in the silos that they do, and also that both too often critique the other’s work without seeking to learn more about what made an imperfect solution come about as it did, over it’s predecessor.
A tweaking of the typography: font family, weight, line-spacing, letterspacing, and possibly some of the things being in all-caps, in addition to adjusting the hues of the greys, would have fixed that pane.
Not enough designers trained in typography and classical graphic design, are valued in Tech; and among those of us who are in tech, not enough value usability and HCI principals—and for those of us who have the unique expertise crossing both chasms, not enough of us being super self-promoter attention getter types, are not leading the discussions, decisions, and directions of things. That’s imho a better summation of the problem.
We need more humility in Tech for people NOT skilled at assessing and making recommendations to correct problems, finding people who have those skills—instead of building DIY “you can learn everything!” tutorials. Similarly, designers untrained in graphic design have no business writing visual design guidelines. Jonathan Lee is awesome, and he leads Google’s Material Design efforts. There are more of us out there, but not enough have floated to leadership positions, yet.