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  • There’s this door on the 10th floor of the Vox media office that I hate so much.

  • God dammit!

  • - Do you ever get this door wrong? - Pretty regularly.

  • - 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.

  • - It's "push". - Why?

  • I feel like Roman Mars would know about this.

  • This is 99% Invisible, and those doors you hate are called Norman Doors.

  • What’s a Norman Door?

  • Don Norman wrote the essential book about design. He is the "Norman" of the "Norman Door".

  • Alright, and where is this guy?

  • - You must go to San Diego. - Okay!

  • - Hi, Joe! - Hey!

  • I’m Don Norman. I’m… gee, you know it’s hard to describe what I am.

  • 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 purpose.

  • I was spending a year in England, and I got so frustrated with my inability to use the light switches and the water taps and the doors, even, then I wrote this book.

  • If I continually get a door wrong, is it my fault?

  • No. In fact, if you continually get it wrong, it's a goodand if other people continually get it wronggood sign that it's a really bad door.

  • A Norman Door is one where the design tells you to do the opposite of what youre actually supposed to do, or gives the wrong signal and needs a sign to correct it.

  • 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?

  • It can be obvious if it’s designed right.

  • There are a couple really simple, 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.

  • 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, there’s no way of knowing what’s possible; should I tap it once, or twice, or even triple tap?

  • So, discoverability, when it’s not there, well, you don’t know how to use something.

  • Another is feedback.

  • And so many times, there’s no feedback; you have no idea happened or why it happened.

  • And these principles form the basis of how designers and engineers work today, Commonly known as user- or human-centered design.

  • I decided at one point the word "user" was a bit degrading; why not call people "people"?

  • And it’s amazingly simple and amazingly seldom practiced; we call it iterative 'cause it goes around in a circle.

  • We go out and we observe what is happening today, we observe people doing a task.

  • And from that we say, "Oh, we have some ideas. Here’s what we should perhaps propose to do."

  • Then you prototype your 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 the device, until the point we're actually making something that really works.

  • And this process has spread all over the world

  • and it turns out it's 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, farming... - Sanitation, lots more.

  • So what’d be a better human-centered door?

  • An ideal door is one thatm as I walk up to it and walk through it, I’m not even aware that I had opened a door and shut it.

  • 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 wouldn’t need a sign. A flat plate, you push.

  • This kind of push bar with the piece sticking out on one side works well, too, so you can see what side youre supposed to push on.

  • Vertical bars could go either way. A simple little hand thing though, sort of indicates "pull".

  • But we still have terrible, terrible doors in the world. So many of them.

  • 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. And so, except for safety reasons, doors tend not to be improved.

  • But the tyranny of bad doors must end.

  • - I think that it’s a really shitty design. In fact, they put a pull handle when it’s a push. That should be a flat panel here, and not a [beep] pull handle. That’s how I feel about this door, it’s very misleading. - I agree.

  • Youre right, Becky. Youre God-damned right. And if we all thought like you, well, we might just design a better world together.

  • It won't open because it's a security door!

  • What the **** are you two doing?

  • 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 to collaborate with with them, thank you. And check them out on any podcast app or

There’s this door on the 10th floor of the Vox media office that I hate so much.

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A2 US Vox roman door norman design push

It's not you. Bad doors are everywhere.

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    想你的我 posted on 2021/09/23
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