Why Are You Constantly Opening Some Incomprehensible Doors the Wrong Way?

You are a functioning adult with intelligent intelligence. So why do you constantly get confused about something as simple as opening a door? It’s not just you. Some doors are designed to confuse you.

As the Vox explain site points out, we subconsciously look for certain design clues on the doors we walk through. You probably never got confused and tried to open a door with a pressure plate or rod. Because the very design of these doors is obvious. Other doors that put style over function, however, can be confusing.

In design circles, these bad doors are known as “Norman Doors” after designer and writer Don Norman. In his book Designing Everyday Things, he explains that a well-designed door doesn’t need a sign telling you how to open it. You could figure out just by looking at it how to open it.

Unfortunately, not all doors are well designed. For example, in office buildings, you can find a glass door with a large vertical handle on both sides. The handle tells you that you could open it, but on at least one side of these doors you cannot. These handles probably exist to keep people’s hands away from glass or to adhere to a particular design aesthetic, but they come at the cost of user confusion. Signs can help, but if you and other people are often confused about certain doors, it is most likely not you. It’s just not a well-designed door.

That’s not you. Bad doors are everywhere. | Vox


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