Thursday, April 28, 2011

Usability Fail

My son and I took a trip recently which included a stop at a parking garage at the Detroit Metro Airport.  My son takes great joy in pushing any elevator buttons so when we got the elevator bank he rushed over then paused in front of this panel with his finger extended...

This elevator call button panel at DTW looks more like a cry for help.

"Wait, what is this?"  he asked.  Then I noticed his hesitation and wondered myself where the real elevator call buttons were and glanced around the wall.  "Oh, those ARE the elevator call buttons."  I muttered and went ahead and took the risk of pushing one.

This panel looks like it was designed by the department of fire safety and messaging who, as an afterthought, threw a couple of identical buttons on there which may or may not have anything to do with calling an elevator.

By the way, those round offset metallic button-looking disks in the flame with articulate images in them are not buttons. The unadorned things with no indication of up/down direction right next to an imposing key-hole are buttons.

Later in the day we saw this display at some elevators, which serves the exact same function as the example above, minus the doubt and anxiety...

That's more like it. At the Renaissance Hotel, at the other end of the trip, I can summon an elevator without wondering if I am actually calling the fire department.

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