Why All the Doors in Star Wars Slide Open

Take a look at the poor robot trying to open the door in this gif:

poor robot

Obviously, this is why all the doors in Star Wars slide open, so you don’t have to teach robots to turn doorknobs.  Right?

This got me thinking about sliding doors.  Why are they so prevalent in science fiction?  Is it purely for the visual effect?


But there are real world examples of sliding doors.  Retail stores, especially grocery stores, pretty much always have sliding doors.  So do elevators. So there must be some purpose to it.

Some reasons why you might use a sliding door:

  • to control access, as with elevators
  • to regulate traffic – you can only enter as fast as the door opens
  • to facilitate traffic – people don’t have to slow down to open the door
  • to control temperature or moisture – a door can’t be left open to the outside
  • to allow people to pass through even with their hands full
  • because it looks cool

use the force

What does this have to do with web development?

I think there is some lesson in here about design, and about visual effect.  Something can look cool, and also be useful.  It could also be a little excessive.

It’s inspired me to look at things in the real world a little more though.  Before today I hadn’t thought about why we use sliding doors and why we don’t… but it turns out they can be pretty useful.

It makes me wonder what other things in the real world and on the web, have been so carefully designed that I don’t usually even think about them?  What do we put on our websites that actually increase functionality – and what is there just to look cool?

4 thoughts on “Why All the Doors in Star Wars Slide Open”

  1. For the same reason you have sliding doors in real life.

    They take up less floor space. You have them so you can place more things closer to a wall and they use less energy than doors that swing open automatically.

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