The Supreme Court of Canada launched a new design for its website a couple of weeks ago. According to Michel-Adrien Sheppard, this was in order to come into compliance with the Treasury Board Secretariat Web Standard on Usability. The content appears to have remained unchanged.
The new design for the home page is set out below, followed by an image of its previous design:
The new design is generally cleaner and more readable than the former, which, by contrast, was a bit cramped. But to my eye there’s not a lot of improvement when it comes to aesthetics. I realize that the motive for change was the accessibility requirements (which, by the way, are themselves anything but readily intelligible, in case intelligibility is itself an aspect of accessibility). But not only is there no need for there to be a conflict between beauty and accessibility, one might easily argue that a beautiful design goes a long way toward improving accessibility for many people, at least. Too bad the Court missed a bet here to mark itself by very good design.