Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles There’s this door on the 10th floor of the Vox media office that I 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 you know 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. In fact, if you continually get it wrong, or if other people continually get it wrong, it's a good sign that it's a really bad door 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, at one point, that the word "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 should perhaps propose to do. Joe: Then you prototype the solution, and test it. quite often these are wrong at first. But each time they go around the circle we do a better job of making a new device, until the point where we're making something that really works 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 same 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 that are fairly standardized and therefore 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.