Are you always pushing on a pull door? Then here’s the reason why?

How often do you pull a two way door that says push or vice versa? Why is it that many of us make this weird mistake? We push instead of pulling because we just don’t care knowing that it will obviously open, or is it due to some odd impulse emanating from our brain s which tells us to do the opposite?


As weird as it may see, don’t we sometimes derive some insane pleasure on pushing when we should be pulling a door handle? But even if we don’t, then what is it that compels us to open a door in the wrong direction.

1 The Norman door

Don Norman who authored a book on such everyday problems felt that doors that were given the preference of design rather than practicality will be confusing. His book on terrible doors made such an impact that architects now refer to such doors as Norman doors.


A Norman Door is designed with elements that confuse you with wrong usability signals making you push when you should pull and vice versa. In such cases, indicators and signs were needed to instruct how to open the door.

The Norman door

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2 Why do we push when we are supposed to pull?

Norman went on to invent the practical two way door and wrote in his book “The Design Of Everyday Things’’ that – ‘A well-designed door is the one that the user can open intuitively and does not need signs to indicate how to open it. All you need is to look at it, and you would know how to open it’

When we approach a door, our subconscious mind initiates the thought process to derive the best way in opening it. In most cases we will get it right when there is some indication on the door. But if there isn’t we are left in a sense of confusion acting accordingly.

Why do we push when we are supposed to pull

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3 Despite of practical solution, terrible doors still exist among us

Such terrible doors are one of the reasons that prompted Don Norman to write his book that discusses almost everything from light switches to push and pull doors that counter the benefits of intuitive and practical design.
Even though there are very practical solutions to such problems, still these doors crop up almost everywhere. This is what Don Norman writes about. He is an advocate on people oriented design. His book seeks to enlighten people on the benefits of practical design.


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