The Norman Door

February 25, 2019

By Heather Fox

There are countless books, websites, lectures etc. teaching us about good design. Yet, poor design remains all around us and most of us experience it repeatedly every day.

A great example of this is the wholly unnecessary phenomenon known as the Norman Door. How many times have you had trouble getting through a door because you tried to push instead of pull or vice versa? Well, it’s not you. It’s the door.

“Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.”

Don Norman
A brass door handle with sign "PUSH".

Why is there a handle to pull it?

We understand that the examples here aren’t exactly ‘gadget’ or computer related—but it’s likely you can recall plenty of websites or apps that were confusing or inefficient. And look—we’re still trying to get the door right. We do have a ways to go. We have the ability to make things highly intelligent and clever. But first, let’s create with a collective understanding of people. Let’s make things usable.

“A brilliant solution to the wrong problem can be worse than no solution at all: solve the correct problem.”
Don Norman

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