Experimenting with PGDI: Doors — Part 2 of 3

Continuing from last time (Part 1), in this post I’m going to continue describing my front door using PGDI. This time is going to be a bit rough, because we’re looking at the Mastery and Immersion components. I’m just going to jump right into this.

Outside of Front DoorInside of Front Door

But first, about the doors. From the initial post:

Here is my front door. It’s pretty bare bones, but it is a little bit more than your average door. It opens and closes. It’s purpose is to separate the outside from the inside, creating a boundary through which one can access the other. It has a few features. On the outside, the door is green. It has a clip below the eyelet. It has a handle that must be pushed or pulled to turn and open the door. The door is gated with a card reader and number pad, barring access to a person who does not have a properly keyed card, and who does not know the code for that card. I have also included the doorbell as part of the door. Some may argue that this is including a second piece of interactive design. Argue all you want, I’m throwing it in.

On the inside of the door, you can see a peephole for seeing who is on the other side, another of those handle knobs, and a sign. The sign reads “Warning – For door security, deadbolt must be thrown.” You might note that there is no way to throw a deadbolt. The door doesn’t have one.

Now, onto the description.


Achievement – Low
Unfortunately, my front door doesn’t really have much in the way of tasks that you can complete with it. You can master the task of opening the door. You can master the task of unlocking it. There’s really not much to it, since it isn’t a complicated system. There are still some tasks that you can master completion of for the door, but for the most part it’s got little achievement to offer.
Collecting – Low
On top of not having much in the way of tasks, there are very few objects associated with the door. You might be able to collect all the cards that unlock the door (there’s probably about a dozen of them). You certainly can’t collect any part of the door. It’s fixed in place. It’s too heavy to pick up. I don’t do table cloths.
Discovery – Medium
There is a small amount of discovery in my front door for the average door user. It has a history that can be learned if you talk to the right person. One side is a different color than the other. The sign on the inside isn’t known to all. Plus, the door is exploratory. It allows one to explore the inside or outside of the apartment. Sure, there isn’t a lot of esoteric knowledge about the world of my front door, but there is something there. I don’t know how it was built, or when it came to be put in place as a door. I don’t know what it’s made out of, or what’s under the paint. I don’t know the story behind the sign. There are still some bits of knowledge about the door I don’t know. I’ve yet to master the knowledge of it. But to give this door a high discovery component would be a mistake. There simply isn’t much to know about the door and the world it creates. Further, knowing more about the door isn’t a big part of experiencing the door. A door enthusiast might be really interested in some of these things, but this isn’t the most exciting door, knowledge-wise.
Process – Low
Process, for the door, is confined to about three things: the physics of how the door works, the electronics of the locking mechanism, and the electronics of the doorbell. Understanding how the door’s systems work is not going to help with the experience of the door. There are just not enough systems to warrant much of a rating here. A person might be able to argue for a medium process component, but I just don’t think the systems are grand enough or interesting enough to be a focus of the door, even at medium strength. That said, a person with a reasonable amount of understanding of the lock’s inner system might be able to get through it, if so determined.
Skill – Medium
Mastery over performing actions is somewhat important to users of the door. I think that opening and closing the door can be achieved rather slapdash, but because the motion is so restricted, there isn’t much to master. The main thing for skill is the lock. Everyone living in my apartment had to figure out how to properly use the lock on their own, using trial and error. Occasionally we still struggle. There’s still some piece of that action that isn’t clicking for us, and we have to try the action again. I might also say that there is a certain amount of skill, social skill, involved with particular uses of the door. Answering the door is a complicated social action which takes some people years to fully master. I still struggle with it, enough that I avoid answering the door if I can.


Embodiment – High
Embodiment is, well, about the be-all end-all component for about any physically interactive object, isn’t it. Do I feel like I exist in the context of the world of the door? That’s a bit strange of a question because I actually, physically am in the world of the door. A person could argue that all physical objects described by PGDI would have a total level of embodiment. I am a bit more conservative (I don’t like giving out those none or total ratings lightly). It’s only a high rating for two reasons. First, when interacting and using the door, I don’t feel like I am the door. I am operating the door, but I haven’t embodied the entirety of the world of the door. Second, embodiment is important to the door, but is it all the door is about. Is the most important thing about the door that I feel like I exist physically in that space? I somehow doubt it. Still, it’s a physical object, and short of a neurological issue, I can’t deny that I feel like I exist in the world of the door. The fidelity is quite high.
Emotion – Medium
Now emotion is one of those tricky components that can probably be debated depending on the emotional depth of the person doing the rating. How much my door causes people to feel something is difficult to measure objectively. As I mentioned in Reward that the act of using the door can evoke an emotional response. Usually for me, it is relief when I come home, or excitement and stress when I leave. Note excitement here is referring to an emotional state, that of being interested and welcoming of what is going to follow. This isn’t to be confused with Excitement, the component, which deals with an entirely different (biological) thing. I’m putting emotion at medium because while it is easy for the door to evoke something, it’s also just as easy for the door to do nothing to change one’s emotional state. If one is preoccupied, returning home or leaving will have no affect on how you are feeling. You will carry the feeling associated with the preoccupation through the door, unchanged.
Excitement – Low
I’m sorry, but I just can’t get excited about my door. Excitement deals with the ability for what you’re studying to carry you away and make you feel, biologically, a sense of tension, a sense of vertigo. Using a door is usually not going to get your heart rate up, though in certain circumstances that might be the case. I suppose you could exercise using the door by opening and closing it repeatedly. This is artificial excitement, though. There isn’t much in the way of thrill involved.
Instinct – Medium
The controls for my front door are simple, from the inside. Although the misleading sign does suggest a control that does not exist. Although I do not feel like the door is an extension of the self, I know that some people might. Opening this door, to them, might be automatic. If I am distracted, I can operate the door with no problems. From the inside. From the outside, it’s a little more difficult. I often have to stop to focus on opening the door, even if I am doing something else. It sometimes feels automatic, but not every time. I feel that the disconnect between the inside and the outside moves this door’s instinct rating to medium. A person might argue that it is high, and my personal experience with the visceral operation of the door is exceptional.

That’s two more components down. The Immersion components took some thinking. It’s easy to give points just because of the physicality of the device, but you really have to think about how that physicality affects one’s interaction with the object. Poor Mastery just didn’t stand much of a chance. There’s just not much to master about this particular door. Some doors might have a much different layout of Mastery components. Mine is just a boring door with a weird lock. Next up we have Customization and Progression. How do we customize our experience of the door? What does progress even mean with an object like a door? We’ll find out in part 3.


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