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Elevator Buttons Can Lead to Confusion

Posted by on Dec 6, 2013 in Directionally challenged, disorientation, elevators, personal navigation, terminology, Wayfinding | 0 comments

Elevator Buttons Can Lead to Confusion

Do you ever find yourself riddled with indecision as you enter an elevator cab and have to make a choice about which button to push? You don’t have to be directionally challenged to be confused by the elevator panel in the photo (in a multilevel movie theater), which is a sad example of information design gone awry.

Floor designations (letters) don’t make it clear which floor is which, except for the starred “L” which one might assume is the lobby on the ground floor, but it is not. Explanatory labels try to help, but they end up being befuddling too. Patrons enter the elevator and wave their hands about in frustration, not knowing what to do.

To make matters worse, symbols at the bottom of the panel also don’t communicate. Despite being widely used, the “open door” and “close door” icons take almost everyone time to decipher and can result in inadvertently allowing elevators doors to close on people entering. Here, for some unknown reason, each undecipherable icon is used twice: once with a line separating the arrowheads and once without.

Do you have an anecdote about or photo of your favorite confusing elevator panel?


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