asked why people push an already lit button
when getting on an elevator.
People naturally do irrational things when faced with situations they can't understand, since there is no rational action to take and people want to do something
. Elevators are among the most poorly designed interfaces our civilization has produced. Since they don't give immediate feedback as to the result of button pushing, people make up superstitions as to the effect of their actions. Also, there is no button to push to signify that you got on the elevator and you are happy with the currently lit buttons, and since there is no countdown timer to tell when the door will close, people want to do something to get the damn thing moving.
A well designed elevator would incorporate the following features:
- Visual/motion sensors to detect when the elevator was empty so it could clear the stop queue, when someone stepped on so it could go already, or when a lobby was empty so it could skip stopping there even if the call button had been pushed or could wait a moment when someone was rushing to catch a car.
- A countdown to show when the doors will be closing.
- A CLOSE button that actually does something, like makes the doors close right away.
- The OPEN and CLOSE buttons should be huge and easy to swat with an open palm.
- The ability to cancel a request to stop at a floor, for when you hit a button by mistake or change your mind.
- An indicator to show which floors the elevator will be stopping at because someone called the elevator from that floor.
- A HURRY button that would take you to your floor without stopping along the way. (wishful thinking, maybe)
Most importantly, the routing software should be optimized to reduce people's time waiting for and traveling on the elevator.
Here's an example of what not to do: The office building I work in has the most stupid design I've ever seen. There is always a car at the ground floor lobby waiting with its doors open. You get on and push a button, then wait a random amount of time until another car arrives at the ground floor and your car is released to depart. Someone decided that having an open door at the ground floor at all times was a requirement, so even if 8 people are in a car and have all pushed buttons the car won't budge until another arrives, even if no one is waiting in the lobby. And there is no timeout. A car will wait as long as it takes for another to arrive. Sheer idiocy!
Things that can help: Say someone calls for an up car on floor 3. If a full car is ascending from floor 2, every system I know of today would stop that car at floor 3 for a pickup. But if there is an empty car stopped at floor 2, it would be better to let the full car continue past 3 without stopping and instead summon the empty car from 2.
Even better - if when calling a car you could say what floor you want to go to, rather than just up or down, the routing software could be smart. If two cars were passing your floor, it could stop the one that was already going to the floor you want to go to. This may seem like trivial stuff, but think about some of those giant towers and how much time is wasted due to poor elevator routing.