We are doing nothing new — why digital experts do not and should not exist

I constantly find myself looking around the digital space (sorry for that phrase) marveling at the sheer amount of nonsense that is being spouted by digital ‘experts’. I’m going to try my best not to make this sound like a rant — as I’m not a ranter — but its going to be hard….

There is no such thing as a digital expert — the market is too big — the breadth of the digital reach too wide — the uncertainty and pace of change simply to great to allow anyone to be described as an expert.

Someone can be a UX/UI expert, they can be a usability expert, an expert in a particular programming language, even an expert in a specific market…… but a digital expert….jeez…

I personally know bits about bits — a bit of project management, a bit of UX, a bit of usability, a bit of management, change etc.etc. A jack of all trades and master of absolutely nothing….

Adding to my incredulity of these self-professed experts is the fact that they think their processes, opinions, ideas, methods are something new as if they have never been done before….. wrong.. its all been done before.

I have recently purchased a book. 101 Things I learned in Architecture School. Some of the 101 things are;

  • Space planning is the organising or arranging of spaces to accommodate functional needs.
  • Beauty is due more to harmonious relationships among the elements of a composition than to the elements themselves
  • If you can’t explain your ideas to your grandmother in terms that she understands you don’t know your subject well enough.
  • A dynamic composition encourages the eye to explore.
  • Limitations encourage creativity

Read them and then read them again..

Now put them in context of the digital space, maybe your last web project or your website development programme.

  • Space planning is the organising or arranging of spaces to accommodate functional needs.

Make sure any product/site design allows space to allow interaction

  • Beauty is due more to harmonious relationships among the elements of a composition than to the elements themselves

As a client or PM — before making subjective decisions on components of a design — wait to see the whole

  • If you can’t explain your ideas to your grandmother in terms that she understands you don’t know your subject well enough.

If your Nan can’t use your web product — its never going to really work.

  • A dynamic composition encourages the eye to explore.

Get the interface and design in harmony, encourage interaction.

  • Limitations encourage creativity

Stick to the budget and don’t moan

These statements were taught around 50–60 years ago in US architecture colleges… they are not new. Next time you are speaking to a ‘digital expert’ listen carefully to what they are saying and put the comments in a wider context or a different market — you’ll be surprised (or maybe not) what you’ll hear and that you may have heard them before somewhere else.

  • Manage your ego.

That’s another of the 101 things — see if the ‘expert’ can do this if you challenge them.

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