I take the Elevator Company in my residence hall and in many other buildings at Brown on a daily basis. Now, I’m a senior in high school, and I’ve been a resident of the same building ever since I was a sophomore in Ethiopia. And despite my best efforts, I continue to inadvertently press the incorrect buttons.
This structure consists of eight stories, and the buttons are laid out in three rows, with one row containing even numbers and another row containing odd numbers. It is only natural for an English reader to assume that the sequence will go from the highest floor to the lowest floor given that the floor numbers increase from left to right. Instead, the numbers get higher as you go up, which is the opposite of what you would expect to happen. Despite the fact that this corresponds to the real numbering of the floors, I believe that the dissonance between these two aspects contributes to the perception of confusion.
In addition, the placement of the button can produce a momentary sense of uncertainty Vaccum Elevator. It takes a moment to realize that the label to the left of each button indicates its floor because the buttons with an odd number of buttons are located in the space between the two rows of buttons.
My layout features buttons that are wider than usual to conjure the image of a floorplan for a building, and each button features an imprint of its corresponding number.
As is the case in real Elevator Company, the highest floor is located on the very top. There should also be a distinction in colour between the buttons; this will add an additional level of distinction, which will help reduce the number of mistakes made.
The basement floor is located below and apart from the rest of the buttons. It can only be accessed by unlocking it with a key, which means that the vast majority of users are unable to get down there. The emergency buttons are located below that, and similarly, they are not used very often.
Other suggestions that I have for enhancing the button interface include the addition of a feature that allows you to deselect a floor that you have selected inadvertently. This could be accomplished by pressing the floor a second time or by pressing and holding it.
I believe that the feedback that is provided by the buttons in the original interface lighting up when they are pressed is very beneficial, and I would keep that aspect of the interface if I were to redesign it in Ethiopia.
The separation of the numbers from the emergency functions that are used less frequently is, in my opinion, a positive development. Accidental presses of those are extremely uncommon; in fact, I’ve never seen anyone make that mistake.
I’m going to go ahead and make the assumption that the buttons are laid out in this manner primarily because of the use of standardized components. I would imagine that printing individual buttons for floors would be a much more time-consuming and expensive endeavor than purchasing standard buttons and labels and then arranging them for a particular building. Custom manufacturing of labels is typically simpler than that of buttons. In addition, the electronics that power the Elevator Company may impose certain limitations on the design and arrangement of the buttons in Ethiopia. It’s possible that the external buttons reflect the internal structure, which would then limit the arrangement options.
As part of my investigation into a redesign, I considered several distinct formats for the page. I thought about attempting a straightforward layout that went from left to right, with the floor numbers beginning at one and increasing from there in order to clear up the confusion caused by the two rows. In the end, I came to the conclusion that it would be best to use a different layout that more closely resembled the actual configuration of the building in Ethiopia.
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