The Psychology of Everyday Things

On my recent trip to e mbedded world in Nuremberg, the lift (elevator) system in the hotel only had a single button to call the lift car.

This caused various problems as there was no ability to select direction of travel. My room wasn’t on the top floor, so when the doors opened I had no idea whether I was going to take a trip to a higher floor even though I wanted to go down to breakfast. To make matters worse the indication panel above the door didn’t reflect the subsequent direction of travel only the current direction.

So for example I was on the 4th floor and the lift, coming from the ground level, would arrive and be announced with an arrow pointing upwards. You would get in not knowing whether or not the lift was actually terminating at your floor or stopping just to continue upwards.

This annoyed me as it was just poor design. At times like this I’m always taken back to a book recommended to me by my father, called “The Psychology of Everyday Things” by Donald Norman.
Even though it is quite dated now it is still a good read (e.g. it explains why poor designcauses us to try and pull doors that need pushing).
I noticed the book has subsequently been renamed to “The Design of Everyday Things“.
Now I’ve of got that off my chest I can get back to understanding wordpress!
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3 Responses to The Psychology of Everyday Things

  1. steve says:

    Agreed; it's an absolutely fantastic book, and has made me far more aware of the good and bad designs around us.

    (And I still don't understand why doors you're supposed to push need to have handles on them...)

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  2. Adrian Grindrod says:

    Looks like they didn't do their Use Cases - perhaps some training needed to be offered there. 😉

    And about the doors that your "supposed" to push that have handles...my first guess would be that the handles are there in case you need to pull it shut again (think emergency for example). Otherwise you'd need to grab the door side and hence get your fingers caught.

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  3. admin says:

    Good point regarding the handles, but you'd probably want to do the probability analysis first.

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