I have compiled a list of 10 Usability and User Experience related tasks. You may be familiar with some of these tasks but likely are not familiar with the specific activity or deliverable for each.
Heuristics in Usability are simple guidelines to go by when reviewing or better yet, when designing a User Interface. It would be nice to have a tool, even a simple checklist - but smarter and with more data collection capabilities. For right now, here is a list of the most common heurisitics from recognized experts in the field.
What is being done to make Rich Internet Applications more Accessible? The WAI-ARIA is working on it. I plan to explore the initiatives in summary and see how they apply to my own real world experience.
A great article over at A List Apart really does a great job of explaining how Aesthetics plays a part in overall User Experience and can contribute to Usability, Brand Awareness, Trust and overall User Satisfaction with a web site or any other functional design.