Guest post: Elevator button usability

Today we have a guest post from our loyal reader George Trudeau of Hyannis, Massachusetts.

George sent me this photo:

Elevator Buttons

And here is the story:

I went to a Doctor appointment and took the elevator up to the second floor office by pressing the great big 2.

When I left the office, I was still thinking more about my appointment than how to operate an elevator, so I pressed the button under the 2, the doors closed, and I returned to my thoughts. Eventually I realized nothing was happening so I pressed the button under the 2 again… It even has arrows pointing to it.

If I wanted to go sideways I might have pressed the right button the first time.

Nice catch! Not only is the up/down direction represented sideways, but the line in the  “Close doors” icon does look like a “1”  in the same style of the “2”. Of course, you have to be distracted to make this mistake… but usability is about ensuring proper user interpretation even when distracted!

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