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Everyday usability 16

In one of my last articles I talked about myths of human behavior in emergency situations. One part of the article concerned escape route design and the cue that bad design of escape routes violating the usage of the building is contraproductive. Just yet I found an example.

The companies department which I work for moved in another building. The building consists of three interconnected parts (or if you ignore the connective way of three single units). Each in a tube forming a square. The connecting passage way is only on one side of the building. Most space in the building is used for open bureaus you can see it in the picture below. Only one building side consists of some meeting rooms and smaller rooms for higher management. Each level has just two kitchens and two restrooms (in the oposite corner of the square building form). You can see the nearest kitchen with yellow background in the picture below. The restroom is in the oposite direction of the office compartment. The fire door to the kitchen is mostly open. I can only guess why, maybe because we do not have printers directly in our office department. The nearest ones are alongside the kitchen (not marked). Further the stairs are also used to enter our bureau. They are escape route and usual used way in one which helps to orientate in an emergency situation. In conclusion kitchen and printers are behind the door and but are commonly used in the office, so the door has to be used many times each day. As a fire door it is selfclosing with a specific noise might disturbing people sitting directly next to it. So people sitting next to the fire door or ones using it frequently leave it open – contraproductive to the door’s original purpose.

Our new office

Our new office

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