Saturday, December 6, 2014

Elevator Door Buttons

Though I have used elevators all my life, if there is one simple task that I still struggle at – it is to keep the door open when someone is trying to get in at the last moment. And the reason? Because the Door open and Door close buttons are hard to differentiate without thinking hard enough.

Elevator Door Open or Close

Japanese have this concept of “Poke-Yoke” (Mistake proof or Idiot proof your design). There are plenty of examples of Poke-yoke online, so I add a few more for you to read here:

  1. Your USB drive can go in only the right direction into the USB socket
  2. The ATM Card comes out before the money is dispensed so that you don’t forget your ATM card
  3. The Ethernet cable can only be inserted in one way into your computer.
  4. Your basin has an emergency extra hole at the top so that even if the main drain chokes, water can flow through an alternate hole.
  5. You can’t start an Automatic gear car unless you put the gear in parking
  6. Your room key doubles up as a key to start/stop your electricity in your hotel room. That way you never leave the lights on when you leave your room.
  7. The Video Component cable uses the same colours as the sockets so that you blindly put the red in red, black/yellow in black/yellow and white in white.

However, I am amazed that no one has yet come up with a UX design for an elevator door open and close button that can be easily identified even by an idiot and not used to mistakenly close the door on someone while being chivalrous. This goes along with my rant about how easy it is to be confused between restroom symbols and elevator symbols in public places!

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