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How to open a door | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees
Screen Shot 2013-02-10 at 10.21.42 AM

How to open a door

Doors should be pretty self explanatory. A person turns a knob, pushes forward, pulls back or maybe slides a handle. While I don’t agree with the statement that if an app has instructions the UI is faulty, what does it say if a door has instructions on how to open it? Here’s a couple examples below that I came across recently. What these signs suggest is that there are people listening to feedback though it begs the question that if the door had been designed differently would there have been the need for the signs in the first place?


Lock signage

There’s two issues here. A sliding door and a weird lock. It’s not rare to have a door like this but compared to most pubs a person is used to pushing to get out. My guess is that people don’t understand the concept of a sliding door so the stickers went up. I’m not sure why they just didn’t place a slide to open arrow instead. I guess people also got a false sense of locking so they had to emphasize it.


Lock signage

There’s probably only a couple people that need to open this door. One lock opens in one direction, the other lock a different way. I can only imagine how much time was lost before the arrows were documented. Makes sense but I also have to wonder why they couldn’t just remember how the locks open.



In terms of ergonomics, I thought it was pretty clear that a person had to push the door to open. I look at this door and wonder if three different management people needed to feel involved so this was the outcome.

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