I’ve talked to Jeff B. about this (kind of) but I’d like to see what everyone else thinks. There are a lot caveats I could add to what I’m about to suggest, but I’m going to try to keep it simple to make it easier on myself.

Is there an inverse relationship between becoming an expert in a certain medium and being able to enjoy it? For example, do you think film critics enjoy film less than non-film critics? Has becoming a critic ruined film for them?

This can be applied in a lot of situations, but I think most of us can relate to becoming interaction snobs. During our first year of the program, we all began to increasingly use the phrase “that’s bad design.” We started to see bad design in almost everything. In some instances it would get in the way of what we were doing.

Some websites are now simply unusable for me, because they make me too frustrated. I won’t buy things from an online store if the purchasing experience is awkward, but that hasn’t always been the case. I used to have to order computer parts from terribly designed websites, but I wouldn’t do that anymore. And it’s not the case that I wouldn’t have recognized the bad design previously; I definitely knew those sites were awful. I just didn’t let it get in the way.

Recently I was trying to teach Colin, an instructional designer, how to play a board game I got for Christmas called “Quarriors.”  He refused to read more than a few pages of the instruction booklet because he became too frustrated with the way they tried to explain the game. It had nothing (or little) to do with the game itself, but everything to do with the way the game was explained. It got in the way for him.

Of course I’m not trying to say that we shouldn’t become experts in interaction design because it will make us snobs. I just think it’s interesting to think about. What do you think?

PS: if I should use other tags or categories than the ones I used, let me know and I’ll add them.