Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why didn't I think of that?

You are in a public restroom and have diligently washed your hands with soap and water after taking care of business.  You are about to walk out and you notice this person walking out of a stall and directly heading for the door ahead of you.  He opens the door with his hand and walks off.

We have all been in this situation.  What do you do now? 

Some of us resort to shrugging our shoulders and walking out the door.  Some of us have used clever means (waiting for another person to open the door, or open the door with a piece of paper towel, etc.) to escape from the restroom without touching the door handle.  These situations always get me thinking about the problem at hand and try to solve it.  There are many ways to solving (preventing) this problem:
- Install door handles that spray anti-bac lotion upon grabbing them.  But, this may not go well with people who dislike anti-bac lotions.
- Install motion sensing doors so there is no need for door handles.
- Install push open (from inside) doors so you can push with your foot.

The prevention techniques are either expensive or not acceptable.  What do you do if you had a door that opens inside and cannot use anti-bac lotion, and are cash strapped?  The simplest solution is generally the best solution. 

That is exactly what I saw at the Delta lounge at DTW.  This solution takes away the assumption that doors are to be opened by hands.  The picture below illustrates how simple it is.  The first image shows the instructions (simple and no words), and the second image shows my foot opening the door.  There are no moving parts and hence no maintenance.  There is no need for electricity or any technology, thus further reducing maintenance costs.  The only maintenance required is regular cleaning.

Elegant and simple solutions like this are what we need.  Nowadays, there is so much technology readily available to us, we start over-thinking the solution.  This is a classic example of a simple solution to a simple problem.