In psychology, the term “heuristics” refers to simple, efficient rules, either hard-coded by evolutionary processes or learned, which have been proposed to explain how people make decisions, come to judgments, and solve problems. These rules work well under most circumstances, but in certain cases lead to systematic errors or cognitive biases.
Kazutoyo Yamamoto, of Dessence Co, has set out to explore the heuristic foundations for a common everyday object; The Door. In this experimental design, entitled “Stereotype”, Yamamoto reexamines the elements that make up the door and how our perceptions and expectations interact with those physical properties.
The Stereotype door has a handle but does not have any visible locking mechanism. However, though no traditional lock is visible, this door still has secure features. Yamamoto’s design concept challenges commonly held heuristic expectations regarding “security” and how those expectations are associated to the visible presence of a lock.
Stereotype has been designed so that the only way to forcibly enter would be to destroy the door entirely. That said, we should remain cognizant of the other factors effected by this level of abstracted design. Factors such as the ancillary function of the lock as a visible deterrent and as an expression of the system status of the doorway. The lack of these informational elements could introduce confusion into the interaction between user and door. The assumption explicit in this design is that the user is aware of additional detailed information regarding the door’s hidden functionality at all times. This design strategy would prevent an uninformed user from fully understanding the door’s functionality or status and could potentially create confusion, resulting in unintended consequences.
As a design exercise, this is a beautiful example of heuristic deconstruction. As a practical design, Stereotype would need refining in order to fully address the entire range of informative and utility attributes it’s users would require.