Alex Wright

the "expert" trap

January 16, 2003

challis has posted an interesting analysis of his survey on ux job titles.

I am actually kind of pleased to see all this variation in job titles; this should be a ray of hope for generalists (like me) who still bristle against narrowcast specialization. I would hate to see UE/UX/IA/whatever practitioners suffer the fate of librarians, usability specialists, and other newish "knowledge worker" professions - where a collective quest for professional recognition may lead, ironically, to the unintended effect of mass marginalization.

Don Norman once said something to the effect that too many usability specialists have allowed themselves to be cast as "ditch diggers" who execute a narrow set of tactics (like usability testing), rather than rising up to exert the kind of strategic influence required to effect meaningful change.

Buckminster Fuller argued that one of capitalism's most insidious effects is to lure smart people into the trap of specialization, offering material rewards in exchange for confining themselves to increasingly narrow spheres of influence. as Fuller put it: "I am not a noun. I am a verb."

File under: User Experience

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