Norman Door: An Everyday Thing

Recently, I went to a shopping complex with my best friend to buy outfits for a wedding round the corner. There we found a door of an outlet, so disturbingly annoying to deploy. Having a ‘designing intellect’, I uttered, “Gotcha, it’s a Norman Door.”

Don’t take the feeling wrong, Norman doors are not just the doors initiating an irksome feeling. These resonate more with the misleading depiction of the ‘Push and Pull’ concept. When my friend pushed the door to get inside, the door’s moronic handle misguided her to pull it. And when she finally tried pulling it, swalala…, she didn’t know what to do with it; ergo ended up being frustrated.

As the saying goes, ‘It’s not you. Bad doors are everywhere.’ These everyday things like doors found anywhere or everywhere have failed to implement such simple user-centric ideology implicitly.

Don Norman, the author of ‘The Design Of Everyday Things’, was the first to uncover the concept of Norman Doors (on whose name evidently the term is coined). A very simple straightforward solution he gave was to use straight vertical bars to indicate a Push and a handle to demonstrate a Pull. Hence, with no handle on the Push side, the user has no choice but to thrash the door open.

Fortunately, I keep stickies in my sling bag. When we were done with the shopping, I wrote a note ‘Beware! It’s a Norman Door. Just do the opposite of what the door implies you to do!’ And then we left.

To delve deeper into the concept, do watch out this video wherein Don Norman is interviewed.