I have no IDEA why I’ve been thinking about “Norman Doors” lately; it may have been while watching an older episode from Modern Family where Claire gives herself a shiner while being boss for the day at her dad’s closet company.
Most in the UX community are familiar with the phenomenon, but for those unaware it’s relative simple. A “Norman Door” is simply a door that one simply cannot determine exactly if it is meant to be pushed open or pulled open. (The title is named after the well-known Donald Norman.) Conflicting handle design (vertical or horizontal) and signage (“Push” or “Pull”) may often be at odds with one another.
I found a nifty little blog post with great examples of Norman Doors at 703 Creative.
The post has some great examples that will generally leave you head scratching, but hopefully wary next time you approach the entrance to your local shopping mall.