There Are No Instant Idiots

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

When one is "the expert," it can be easy to fail to recognize when non-experts are finding one's mistakes. And so it is useful to read about situations in which this has occurred so that one can recognize any similar cases in the future. Here's an example, from the field of IT support:

If a bunch of people trip over the same thing, maybe it's not them. Maybe it's your product, or maybe it's just you. You can try to take some kind of high and mighty approach to this stuff and claim to be technically correct and yet totally fail in terms of having your users succeed at performing tasks.
It is easy -- dare I say, tempting -- to think something like, "What a bunch of idiots," in such a circumstance. But true expertise comes in part from paying attention to all aspects of the data. There is a baseline level of knowledge among non-experts, and it doesn't just go away overnight. You have discovered a problem, and it isn't that everyone is an ignoramus.

-- CAV

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