It’s not you. Bad doors are everywhere. – Vox

Skip cool looking, make it work

Don Norman’s seminal book on design, The Design of Everyday Things, was motivated by the same issue. Published 25 years ago, it remains just as relevant today. Doors shouldn’t need instructions…

I read Don Norman‘s book back when it first came out (another good book on computer software design is Alan Cooper‘s The Inmates are Running the Asylum: Why High-Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity that I also highly recommend on the topic of design and usability), just before I took on a job in a CD-ROM publishing company. In the desire to have things look cool or sleek, like the Vox Media doors, many designers forget about the interactive elements involving people. It is something that makes doing websites a bit of a headache since the desire to have it look really awesome can often be at odds with average person being able to figure out what to do when they are at said website. It can also gum up your discoverability with Google, Bing and other search engines, especially when you utilize all images and virtually no text. Usability is timeless stuff.