Door usability

Does an object as simple as a door need an instruction on how to use it? Apparently some doors at the new Medical City building need one.

Need a sign?

I am sure you had experienced, at least once, where you tried to push but a pull is needed, or you tried pushing a door that slides to the left (or right).

‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ are easy to understand words and you may believe that is enough. But when you put a sign, you assume that people will actually read it. But the reality is people do not stop at a sight of a door and look around for instructions.

When opening a door, there are two hurdles you need to overcome: what to do and where to do it. Doors, at least most of them, have knobs, handles or plates so would know what to touch (where). It gives you an indication on what side opens. Figuring out whether to push, pull, slide (what) is where the confusion comes in.

There are simple designs that can be used to eliminate confusion in doors. If the door needs to be pushed, a large plate can be placed at the spot where the push should be applied. There is nothing else you can do except to push it. Of course, the plate should be distinguishable and large enough for the hand.

Pulling is a bit trickier because anything that can be pulled can also be pushed. A horizontal lever on the door that allows entrance of the hand signifies pulling, which is we often see in car doors.

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