Usability: The unclose button

Elevator door open and close buttons in this style don’t work for me:


Open and closing doors don’t have a vertical line. A vertical line represents a future where doors are closed. The buttons say:

Imagine what’s done is done, but we can go back in time: would you unclose, or close even more?

I suspect the writers of the do-over & button-pushing oriented TV show LOST like elevators.

If what the The New Yorker says is true, that the close button is often a placebo:

In most elevators, at least in any built or installed since the early nineties, the door-close button doesn’t work. It is there mainly to make you think it works. (It does work if, say, a fireman needs to take control. But you need a key, and a fire, to do that.) Once you know this, it can be illuminating to watch people compulsively press the door-close button. That the door eventually closes reinforces their belief in the button’s power. It’s a little like prayer. Elevator design is rooted in deception—to disguise not only the bare fact of the box hanging by ropes but also the tethering of tenants to a system over which they have no command.

then pushing both buttons is a good appendage-saving strategy, and might work as well as trying to figure these buttons out in a hurry.

Fear of elevators

I used to be afraid of elevators. I think this was because:

  • I watched some movie where a blind guy almost walks into an open elevator shaft and his guide dog has to save him
  • There was an episode of Lassie involving puppies in a pit/mine shaft
  • I was in the old court house for some reason had to use the elevator by myself
  • Heights/falling are not good… I could feel the bottomless pit underneath me and it made my knees weak.

I’ve no idea when I lost it, but it’s certainly gone.