The perfect door

The Psychology of Everyday Things had a great description of being trapped by poorly designed doors (pretty sure that’s where I read it anyway). While getting trapped by doors is probably fairly unusual*, most doors are less than helpful:

  • Doors that open in one direction with a push plate on one side and a pull handle on the other – it’s hard to pull the door open when carrying something and, no matter how many signs there are, I will occasionally try and push from the wrong side! Doh!
  • Doors that open in both directions with push plates on both sides – better, but difficult to open the door to let someone through (yes it does happen. In fact I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who opened doors for others in New York last year).
  • Automatic doors – difficult to open without a soul, yet they will open for anyone walking past outside to let an icy blast of wind through.
  • Revolving doors – fun, but not exactly practical!

So, here is the perfect solution (can we have more like this please):

  • Doors that open in both directions with pull handles on both sides – you can’t go wrong! Obvious which side of the door opens and you can push through from either side, or pull, with no chance of looking like you just escaped from the school for the gifted! Easy to hold open from either direction, or get through while carrying things.

Okay, so nothing is perfect, but I think that’s the best option until someone invents a replacement for the door!

* except for my house, where someone did once get trapped in my porch for an hour! Sorry Ian!!

Update: I’m pleased to discover that I’m not the only one seeking a better door. Nick has two fine examples of door disasters on his enjoyably ranty Usability Hell blog. (13 May 2010)

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4 thoughts on “The perfect door

  1. Pingback: Nobody deliberately builds a product that’s hard to use « Notes from a small field

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