Friday, February 17, 2012

The Door and the Message

I reached Jaipur today. I am here for a family get together and my eye looking for design implications in the real life did not disappoint me.

The first thing to notice, was the entry door to the Rest room at the Departure section of the airport. This is a new airport, developed not long ago. The entry door had a handle, indicating a Pull behavior required from the user (here - passenger). The handle on a door also indicates the door being heavy and requires considerable force. Therefore the user needs to push the door at a certain area helped by the handle. 

Using these ideas in my mind, I first applied the pull principle, and it didn't open. I thought that the door is closed for repair or other personnel usage. I even enquired with the security of the airport for the same. 
Then I came back to try the push model. Suddenly a large man barged in from behind and opened the door by pushing the handle. Push worked.

But this made my mind wonder - Why the need to have a handle for a door which requires a push model. The door for this rest-room was not heavy at all. If there would have been no handle on the door, my mind would certainly agree for me to use the push mechanism. Having a handle created a confusion. A confusion that arises because of the inherent memory of the Push or Pull mechanism and the physical object that ascertains that behavior. Do we need that handle ?
Interesting, isn't it ?

The second event. I saw a sign board inside the wash-room that said - "Paying Bribe is Wrong" or something near to that. This again sparked a thought in my head. Why do we need people to be aware of message like this in the wash-room of all the places. And it brought me an interesting inference. At the time, when a user is in the wash-room, he / she feels relived and relaxed. At that state of mind, the user is gullible to accept any ideas. With mirrors inside a wash-room, the message is reinforced more prominently. The user sees himself  in the mirror, and becomes a judge instead of being judged. The message of "Not paying bribe" strikes more sharply than it being at any other place.

Two different events, and two different outcomes - speaks at length about human behavior and the way things around us influence action from human. 

Signing off for now, till I find something interesting to share. 

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