Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Smart Elevators

I have now been in the smart elevators in the new NYT building. Like the funny little digital displays, they left me wanting a better implementation. The elevators work like this: There is one pad of buttons for the elevator bank, but it is not up/down like you would normally find, instead, like the buttons on the inside of an elevator, it has all the floors available. Press the floor you want, and it tells you which elevator to use. 

There are a few problems with this approach, although yes it can speed things up overall. If you wait too long to get to your elevator, it times out, and you have to go back and push your floor again (there are no buttons in the elevator). Because the interface is completely different from the norm, visitors have a hard time with it (people tend to get on an open elevator, then, there are no buttons and you are stuck!), and on occasion I have been told people who are used to the system get on a normal elevator and forget to press a button at all. And, if you change your mind or realize you wanted a different floor once you are on the elevator, there is nothing you can do.

Smarter would have the same system with buttons on the inside as well. 

Reminds me of the iDrive. We have a standard interface that works well enough, and someone goes and changes it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. KISS principle.