Doors are conspiring to make our life harder than it is.

How often do people open refrigerator doors and stare at what’s inside, endlessly? Or run-up to their rooms, only to forget what they wanted to fetch?

In 2011, the University of Notre Dame conducted a study around a psychological phenomenon of forgetfulness caused by moving between rooms or essentially passing a door. They called it the ‘The Doorway Effect’ — a feeling of going to another room with a very strong aim in mind and immediately forgetting why one decided to go there.

This happens because the mind considers the act of entering or exiting through a doorway as an ‘event boundary’ which is triggered by a change in the environment and surroundings.

The Doorway Effect is not just limited to physical spaces; it is also observed in virtual environments or metaphysical spaces.

A similar phenomenon happens while opening a new folder and trying to file the earlier activities in a different folder altogether. Accessing the decisions or activities (mental files) from the earlier folder becomes difficult because of compartmentalizing.

One of the most common changes in the virtual environment is observed while switching between internet browser tabs. At any time, most people have 10+ open tabs on their browser. They think all these tabs are too important to close. But when they switch between the tabs, they often forget why they switched to a new tab at all.

When users switch between the tabs and get on a website, they should remember why they opened it in the first place.

The Doorway Effect has been sneaking up on people since ages. While most people blame their bleak memory, it is really about focusing more closely. Think of it as ‘holding the door’.