Category: "Everyday Usability"
Don Norman recently shared a video featuring him about a very classic object of usability issues - the door. Don used doors, among other designs, to explain usability and why it is important to apply human-centered design in his book "The design of everyday things" 25 years ago. Still, some door designs confuse users (not to say cause much frustration). See the funny video:
While a friend and I stayed at a hotel we experienced difficulties entering the hotel room that was secured by an electronic lock. At the reception I received an electronic card. We proceeded to our hotel room, but when I tried to open the door I got stuck. I asked my friend for help. After several attempts he finally figured out how to open the door. Below you can see a photo of the culprit. Where would you place the card to open the door?
To me it looked similar to the locks that we have at work. Therefore, there appeared to be only one option. I held the card at the metal knob below the handle. Unfortunately nothing happened. After several trials, my friend figured that the plastic structure on top of the lock was not just an aesthetic element but the proper interface to open the door. The metal knob below the door handle does not have a function. It would have been much easier to open the door without the visually dominant knob. It would have been helpful to have some visual cue on the plastic part that would identify it as something other than pure decoration.