WeWork Access Card UX

Taras Savytskyi
3 min readDec 23, 2021
Image from wework.com

Recently, I got a chance to visit a WeWork office space for the first time. Overall it was a great experience. Big office spaces, coffee, snacks, the fantastic app to book your desk and many other little things that can make your stay delightful.

When you come to WeWork for the first time, you must receive an access card that will allow you to open everything within any WeWork in the world. When you receive your card, a receptionist will ask you to activate it by opening a door.

It was a pretty trivial task (at least I was thinking that way 😅). I placed the card near the electronic lock and nothing happened. I briefly looked at the receptionist, and she waved to me that I must tap the card and take it right away.

After I did the suggested action — it worked. I was confused. I was confused because I never thought that I could fail such a simple task of using a card to open a door.

On that day, I spent some time thinking about this action and why it happened. It was clear to me that the second interaction of taking the card away was what surprised me a lot. I do not remember when the last time I have seen this type of interaction.

The recording of how this system works at the WeWork office

Remember any interaction with your cards: credit cards, HID cards, fob keys, Apple Pay, etc. A typical pattern is to move your card/key near the lock, opening the door right away without any additional movements.

- Credit Card — you move a card over a debit/credit machine, and a transaction beep goes instantly while a card is still over a device.

- HID Card — when you move a card over an electronic lock, it instantly beeps and gives you access to a place while your card is still near a device.

- HID Fob — the same as HID cards, it will open a lock for you while a fob is located over a lock without moving it away.

In these types of actions, immediate feedback is crucial for a user. It must momentarily indicate the status to a user. Unfortunately, that’s not what is happening for WeWork cards.

The most common tap interaction

After talking to my colleagues, it looks like this is a typical interaction for all Toronto WeWork offices, but in New York, it works in a usual way; just tap opens a door.

I wouldn’t have written this mini-article if I didn’t see how 3 other people were activating their cards and having the same problem as me: opening the door. All of them were holding the card near the device and waiting for it to light up green, but nothing was happening. We were helped by the receptionist: she nicely explained to each of us the way it actually works.



Taras Savytskyi

I share thoughts on user experience design, interfaces, and product development. Working as Senior Product Designer at Ethena | taras.link