Monday, January 27, 2003

Bad Designs: Hard to Open

Bad Designs: Hard to Open
[人因工程 ]


Bad Designs: Hard to Open

Here is a door to a gourmet coffee shop in a designer hotel in New York City. The door is made of solid glass and is very heavy. The top half of the door is clear glass. The bottom half is frosted glass. The handle is in the middle of the door. This makes it very difficult to pull the door open because you can't get any leverage.

Design recommendations:

Normal doors have handles placed on the side of the door. This gives the person opening the door superior leverage. Placing the handle in the middle of the door was most likely done because a designer thought it was aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately, the design fails in usability.

Editor's Comments:

This "designer" door pull, mounted on the centerline of a heavy entrance door, is a flagrant violation of architectural design conventions. Door pulls are invariably mounted on the latch side of doors for good reasons. First, they provide users with the maximum possible leverage when opening the door. Second, they visually cue users from a distance which of two possible directions a door swings, allowing users to pre-position themselves to one side or the other, not only so their bodies may pass through the doorway more easily, but also so they may better apply the proper body English. A center-mounted door pull deprives users of both crucial mechanical leverage and helpful visual cues, merely to satisfy a frivolous quest for novelty.

Thinking outside the box" does not mean indiscriminately tossing out design conventions that have withstood the test of time. Design is not styling. Creativity is not whimsy. Innovation is not trendiness. Clothing designers may get away with foisting their unwearable styling exercises onto gullible fashion victims; their "creations" find their way into Salvation Army donation bins soon enough. But buildings and more durable industrial products hang around considerably longer, long enough for users to realize somebody screwed up, badly.

-- Bevin Chu

Explanation: Bad Designs: Hard to Open
Illustration: Hard to Open
Author: Michael J. Darnell
Affiliation: Bad Human Factors Designs
Publication Date: 1998-1999
Original Language: English
Editor: Bevin Chu, Registered Architect

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