Redesign the Elevator Console

Category : Design, Ideas
Date : March 5, 2016
Comments :

Elevators stress me out, and it’s not because I’m claustrophobic or afraid of heights: it’s that button console. It might not be noticeable, but there seems to be an elevated rise in anxiety associated with operating an elevator, and small design changes can really improve the situation. Let’s walk through it.

As one enters through the doors, there’s this preconceived idea of what it will look like. Floors will be arranged like the one below:


Great! That’s a pretty safe guess. Yet when we turn around, it’s always a new layout and there’s about 3 precious seconds for your mind to interpret the layout, find the floor number you’re looking for, and without error.

No one wants to press the wrong floor number (seconds of life, gone forever), accidentally trip the alarm (that awkward conversation with security) or close the door when you intended to keep it open for late comers (don’t be a jerk). Last thing you would want is to stand there for a whole minute with judging eyes upon you.

Two simple design changes to the console would greatly improve the experience:

  1. Make the OPEN button wider than the CLOSE button. The difference in size physically and visually correlates to the action of opening and closing respectively. It’s easier to process the function.
  2. Elevate the buttons so that floor 4 is actually higher than floor 3. It’s much easier to guide the eye when searching for the floor number. Another visual correlation with height and floor.

My recommendation below:


Now don’t you feel better using this? Design is everywhere, and even though I’m no UX/UI designer, the principles of design still apply here. Put people at ease and empower them to feel confident then using the product.


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