Joana Ferret
Interaction UX/UI Designer

Blog: a designer's field notes

I share quick posts on my daily work, insights, drawings and sketch notes.

UX consistency in elevator panel

User experience is everywhere! As a designer I like to analyze digital experiences as well as real world experiences: interacting with ABMs, parking machines, vending machines, and, the subject of this post, ELEVATORS!

More particularly I would like to talk about the elevators at my workplace. The building I work in is LEED Gold AAA certified which makes it an amazing eco conscious piece of architecture, but I guess the elevators' panels could benefit from some consistency.

 7 out of 8 elevators' panel look like this

7 out of 8 elevators' panel look like this

In my side of the building we have eight elevators that serves us. Seven out of these eight elevators have a panel layout where you have in this order:

  • Floors buttons
  • Centre aligned ground floor button
  • Assistance buttons in this order: open doors, help (which calls a central for help), and close doors.
 
 1 out of 8 looks like this

1 out of 8 looks like this

Things get interesting when we look at the eighth elevator. Because it serves one extra floor, the layout is slightly different in this order:

  • Floors buttons
  • Left aligned ground floor button and right aligned extra floor button
  • Assistance buttons in this order: open doors, help (which calls a central for help), and close doors.
 

At this point I think you know where I'm getting! When going down to the lobby, everybody is more used to press the centre aligned ground floor button, so when they happen to get into the odd car they may press the help assistance button instead because of its location.

I’ve lost the count of the times I boarded this odd car going down and somebody had mistakenly called for assistance by pressing the help button. I've also done this myself and I can attest that the experience is far from good.

When you call for help, the elevator beeps a red light, dials a central where a real person will talk to you through a very loud speaker. Imagine you thought you pressed the ground floor button but suddenly all of this happens! You can't help not feeling at least a bit bad for your mistake.

All of this could have been easily avoided if the experience had consistency and the ground button didn't shuffle around depending on the car. Consistency is such a small thing, but it can deeply impact the user experience.