28 Jun Hands-free door handle during COVID-19 pandemic
There’s this door on the 10th floor I just hate so much without a Hands-free door handle, check out our collection here. Goddammit! Do you ever get this door wrong? “pretty regularly.” How often? “like 30% of the time.” Have you seen people misuse it? All the time. Every day. Constantly.
I hate this door without a Hands-free door handle. Me too Kelsey. But here’s the thing: as soon as you start looking for confusing doors. They. Are. EVERYWHERE.
I feel like Roman Mars would know why Hands-free door handle. Roman: This is 99% invisible, and those doors you hate are called Norman doors.
What’s a norman door? Roman: Don Norman wrote THE essential book about design. He is the ‘Norman’ of the ‘norman door.’
Alright – and where is this guy? Roman: ”You Must Go to San Diego” Okay! Don: Hi joe! I’m Don Norman. I’m… gee it’s hard to describe what I am.
Roman: Well, he’s been a Professor of psychology, professor of cognitive science, professor of computer science, a vice president of advanced technology at the apple. But for our purposes
Don: I was spending a year living in Cambridge, England, and I got so frustrated with my inability
to use the light switches and the water taps and the doors even, that I wrote this book. If I continually get a door wrong, is it my fault?
Don: No.Roman: A norman door is one where the design tells you to do the opposite of what you’re
actually supposed to do, or gives the wrong signal and needs a sign to correct it.Don: Why is such a simple thing, why does it need an instruction manual?
That is, why do you have to have a sign that says Pushor Pull. Why not make it obvious? Roman: It can be obvious if it’s designed right.
Don: There are a couple of really basic principles of design, and one of them I’ll call discoverability.
When I look at something, i should be able to discover what operations I can do. Roman: The principle applies to a whole lot more than doors.
” And it’s amazing with many of our computer systems today, you can look at it and there’s no way of knowing what’s possible. Should I tap it once, or twice, or even triple-tap? Discoverability, when it’s not there, well you don’t know how to use something.” Roman: Another is feedback. So many times, there’s no feedback – you don’t know what happened, or why
it happened. Roman: And these principles form the basis of how designers and engineers work today: commonly known as User- or human-centred design.
Don: I decided user was a bit degrading, why not call people? It’s amazingly simple, and amazingly seldom practised.” We call it iterative because it goes around in a circle. We observe what is happening today, people doing the task.And from that, we say we have some ideas. Here’s what we propose to do.
Then you prototype the solution and test it. And this process has spread all over the world, and is improving lives – from better everyday things like the ones Don wrote about, to use the process to solve huge problems in public health in developing countries – water, sanitation, farming, and lots more. So what’d be a better, human centred door? An ideal door is one where that as I walk up to it and walk through it.
I’m not even aware that I had opened a door and shut it. And I don’t have to be aware because it’s so well designed that it’s just automatic. So if you had a door which had a flat plate, what could you do? Nothing. The only thing you can do is push. So, see? You don’t need a sign. Flat plate – you push.
Roman: This kind of push bar with the piece sticking out on one side works well too, so you can see what side you’re supposed topush on vertical bars could go either way.
A simple little hand thing sort of indicates pull.But we still have terrible, terrible doors in the world. So many of them.Don: There are lots of things in life are fairly standardized. Whether I buy this house and to 99% invisible, one of my favourite podcasts, it was so much fun getting to collaborate.