It’s not you. Bad doors are everywhere.

It’s not you. Bad doors are everywhere.


There’s this door on the 10th floor I just
hate so much. 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. Me too Kelsey. But here’s the thing: as soon as you start
looking for confusing doors. They. Are. EVERYWHERE. Why? I feel like Roman Mars would know why. 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 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 Push
or Pull. Why not make it obvious? Roman: It can be obvious if it’s designed
right. Don: There are a couple 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. Don: “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. Don: 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-centered design. Don: I decided user was a bit degrading, why not call people people? It’s amazingly simple, and amazingly seldom practiced.” 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. Joe: Then you prototype the solution, and
test it. And this process has spread all over the world, and is improving lives – from better every day things like the ones Don wrote about,
to using 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 centered door? Don: 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 to
push on Don: Vertical bars could go either way. A
simple little hand thing sort of indicates pull. Roman: 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 or not is not a function of whether it has
good doors in it. Except for safety reasons, doors tend not to be improved. Roman: But the tyranny of bad doors must end. I think that it’s a really shitty design
the fact that the put A PULL HANDLE when it’s a push. So it should be a flat panel here.
And not a GODDAMN pull handle. that’s how i feel about this door. it’s very misleading.
(I agree) Roman: You’re right becky. You’re goddamned
right. And if we all thought like you, well, we might just design better world together. “It won’t open because it’s a security door!”
“What the **** are you two doing in here?” Hey, so as you can see, since I started making
this video, they’ve since changed the door a little bit. Guess it’s a step in the right
direction. Thank you so much for watching and to 99% invisible, one of my favorite podcasts,
it was so much fun getting to collaborate with with them. Check them out on any podcast
app or 99pi.org.

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “It’s not you. Bad doors are everywhere.

  1. Oh I read the book when I was in my 2nd year in Architecture school. Very good and informative book, aside from its super enjoyable to read 🙂

  2. handle like a milk jug handle on the pull side and a bar on the push side and i promise nobody will get it wrong

  3. Maybe the handle is there in case the auto door close system fails.

    In that case if a person is on the push side of the door then he can use the handle to close the door.

    PS
    Several times I wish there was an option in videos like these to turn off the background music.

  4. Most of the doors in Colombia are oppening inwards. It was weird when I stayed 3 months in Florida. Every single place I was the guy pushing, not pulling.

  5. when a toilet door is more successful in telling which way to open it than the 10th floor of Vox Media office

  6. One time i wanted to sit outside and theres a glass door that leads clearly to the outside sitting area and i lush it and the alarm goes off.

  7. These bad doors are everywhere,just last week a whole group of them hoodlums were trying to rob an old man,before I came in and broke it up,by breaking up the doors into pieces,I am a true hero!

  8. Look for the hinges. If you can see them, its a pull, if you cant, its a push. And all public entrances have doors that open outwards

  9. Yup a door with handles we pull, doors with no handles we push. Door with doorknob we turn. I agreed with Mr. Norman, no need to make it difficult or especially no need for instruction on door. Why doors companies making it confusing? They just wasted materials, and created frustrations.

  10. I hate when someone sees you push a pull door or vice versa and they tell you ‘oh you’ve got to push/pull it’
    Like thanks my next idea was lifting it from the bottom before you told me that

  11. Aight here’s a story, I went to a medical center for a checkup, while waiting I watched this kid flip the push pull sign, I was actually exited to see the person fail when opening it, finally someone comes along and pushes the door that was supposed to be pull, and the door opens as always, they added a sign to a door that opens both ways.

  12. my new favorite thing is vox employees spending company money to make videos about how much they hate the way their building is designed

  13. In my school, there are always those kinds of doors. So, I feel so embarrassed if I pull the door, especially when they're people around me.

  14. Apparently the goofballs at vox didn't get the message in their own video. Don't put instructions on the door, why didn't you just remove the handle and put a plate there like the woman just said?

  15. The building I work at doesn't have bad doors, so much as weird doors. Bottom line, it's tricky to know how to open them for another person. It's like the handle is on the wrong side or something. It's kind of hard to explain. I think I'd have to create my own video to show you. But, due to security reasons, I can't. 🤐

  16. What if they made bad doors so that when someone robs for example a mall they will waste time trying to open the door correctly. I know it’s weird it’s just a random thought

  17. I have Been going to a place every Tuesday and Thursday for a year and I still get the door wrong, I don’t have the energy to memorize that the door goes the opposite way of regular doors 😂

  18. Security doors here must open outwards, while internal doors open inwards to a room (even entrance doors). However living in a ministry house (govt. housing), all security doors were retrofitted that pulling inside lever unlocks door automatically even if it is locked for added fire safety exit. Also all internal doors leading outside fitted with deadlocks also had same setup, locked on outside, but pulling a handle inside would automatically unlock deadlock without having to panic find deadlock key. Some govt buildings also had a lever built into jamb that door locked into that you could pull that separated jamb from lock itself as a emergency exit. And don't get me started on glass doors, without a warning striped at mid height to alert people it a glass door and not a open entryway. Some glass doors depending on light level or sun glare can be invisible and cause serious injury if walk or run into them.

  19. I don’t understand. It always should be like this:
    If you’re outside for eg. a pharmacy, it always should be pull. If You’re walking out of it – it should always be push. Why? When there’s a fire you can freaking escape.

    Edit: it’s literally common sense. It’s annoying…

  20. as soon as i saw this in my recommended all i thought of was one time when i was at guitar center w/ my cousin and my brother and my cousin tried to push a pull door while i was looking over at him 😂😂😂

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