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September 22, 2020

The Problem with Doors

The very human problem with doors is that there is no one single human or entity designing all the doors. Every door has a different “mode of action,” a different way of interacting with its control, as defined by the designers intent. And as encountered by Don Norman and many others, this intent does not always translate to the person using the door.

Each designer or architect is bringing a different focus (aesthetic, cultural, economical) to the design of the door’s control, or selection of the door’s use. The visual signals they choose, and the cultural constraints they operate by may fail to translate outside of their original context of creation. Doors are a human construct, and we should demand more of their design, not less. Rather than design a single type of door, we should consider how might we give clear affordances to open “new doors” for door’s modes of action.

September 22, 2020


In this chapter, Bauman displays a comprehensive knowledge of mechanical and UI controls, their affordances, interactions, and constraints. His deep familiarity with the application of these controls means that he understands what is lost when we depend too much on a single type of control (keys).

We can see the affects of the lack of control diversity in many of the tools we use today. At one end of the spectrum there are the UI interfaces with clunky and unwieldy UI with Menus nested in Menus nested in Menus. Surely there is a better way to access than going 5 “key” clicks deep into a menu. And at the other end there is the minimalism design trend often sinks controls, making it hard for users to find and interact with the controls they need. Either system depends on controls that provide limited “feedforward” affordances.

How can we introduce new control paradigms (tactile, audio feedback) to match the technology being developed so that they do not tax our attentional and cognitive systems?


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Designed by Rachel Arredondo