Everyday Usability 6 – Trapped in a revolving door

Everyday Usability 6 – Trapped in a revolving door

Recently I got trapped in a revolving door. If you have read Don Norman’s “Design of everyday things”, you already know that doors as simple as their design appears can be a rich source of usability limitations. My experience starts with a night out. After a wonderful dinner at a restaurant, we wanted to go to a cocktail bar. Before that, I wanted to withdraw cash from a bank nearby. The entrance was a huge revolving door (photo below). The door consisted of two large segments. Just as I wanted to get in some people came out of the revolving door. It was still moving, so I quickly jumped in the empty half.

The revolving door.
The revolving door.

The door moved, but then suddenly stopped in the middle where it was not possible to reach any exit. I waited. Nothing happened. After a while I tried to push the door unsuccessfully. There were not many options, it was at night and nobody was around. Another thorough look around revealed a green sign on the centre post in the middle of the revolving door (below, left photo). The sign appeared to show that something needs to be pushed in order to open the door. So I tried pushing the in different directions and locations, but nothing happened. I felt helpless. Then I discovered another sign (below, right photo). Red letters on a white background – it looked like an alarm sign, but showed the promising word “Door opener”. The red letters made me think about an alarm, I tried to push the door again and looked for other options. After I could not think of anything else I finally pressed the button. Luckily there was no alarm sound and the door started to move again. Finally I “escaped”.

The signs inside the revolving door.
The signs inside the revolving door.
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