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The handle vs. the doorknob

November 20, 2013

I ran across an interesting story out of Vancouver. Apparently there is a move to “ban” doorknobs under new building code legislation and in their place will be handles in order to improve accessibility. It’s a smart move, but the way it has been implemented is a bit draconian…

But I can tell you there is basically not a doorknob to be found in Finland. They all look like this!

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And if you look at the selection in a hardware store like the S-group’s Kodin Terra, you’ll see there is naught a knob to be found.

I did make this curious observation in my head about door handles way back in 1997 when I visited Finland for the first time – I still remember.

Think about it (especially all you stubborn people who refuse to make more than one trip to the car after a few hours of shopping) – would you rather try and struggle to open a doorknob or manage with a handle when your hands are full? 🙂

Handle – hands down. Doorknobs feel kind of alien, especially when I head home to Canada to visit.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Pamela permalink
    November 20, 2013 12:17 pm

    Ever try opening a door knob when you have just put hand cream on??? Door handle wins again!

    • November 23, 2013 4:06 am

      exactly what I was about to say! I just recently moved to the US and already twice “locked” myself in the bathroom because I couldn’t open the door.. Bedides, I had just become a ninja with door handles (If hands are full and you can’t use your elbow to open the door, use your foot)

  2. Lori permalink
    November 20, 2013 2:26 pm

    Never thought of the door knob in this way before…. I have a question… do even the main house door have the Handle?? And Pamela….. I have tried that, end up wiping it off so I can get out of the washroom! ugh. lol

    • November 20, 2013 11:01 pm

      Lori, everything is a handle – even the front door to the house! It’s incredibly practical.

  3. Sonia permalink
    November 21, 2013 4:17 pm

    Interesting observation, I wouldn’t ever pay attention, but it may be due to the unification/monopoly of Abloy systems (until recently). We’ve got now Dorma, which is trying to enter the Finnish market, but… it’s still a door handle. It does not matter for me, but my hubby was keen on breaking the monopoly, so we (re-)learnt the system. Works just fine!

  4. Sonia permalink
    November 21, 2013 4:26 pm

    Hey wait a moment. Isn’t it so that doorknobs are good for pushing, not for pulling. I would see a clear connection that outside doors are opening to the outside in Finland and to the inside elsewhere…

    • November 22, 2013 8:34 am

      You’re digging rather deep into the issue here (usability brain on I can see :))… A doorknob is a doorknob – push or pull, I think. They’re pretty impractical from an accessibility point of view.

      • Sonia permalink
        November 23, 2013 1:14 am

        Usability brain is always on, except in the shoe store so far 🙂


  1. Trip to Canada | Life in Finland (and beyond)

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