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Getting the elevator to go to your floor

(Elevator controls) Here is the control panel in the elevator of a nice hotel in Los Angeles. Imagine that you just checked into the hotel. You are standing in the elevator and you push the button for the 5th floor to go up to your room. Nothing happens. You push it again. The elevator still doesn't go. You try pushing some of the other buttons. Still nothing. You begin to wonder if the elevator is out of order!

Another guest in the hotel notices your problem and tells you what's wrong. They had the same problem when they arrived! You need to insert your room card in the elevator before it will work. You look on the control panel for a place to insert your card.

(Sliding the card)

Humm,... You think you need to slide the card in the vertical crack? You try sliding the card and pushing the button. It doesn't work. You flip the card over and try again. This time it works!

Design suggestion

Since the goal is to get the guest to use the card reader, they need to first recognize it. Labeling the card reader would help. Better yet, if a more familiar type of card reader was used, guests would be more likely to recognize it.

Because a guest is more likely to push a button than to insert their room card, the elevator could prompt the guest to insert their room card after a button is pressed. Such prompting could be done, for example, by dynamically increasing (or blinking) the illumination of the card reader and its labeling following the button press.

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Copyright © Michael J. Darnell 1996-2010. All rights reserved.