Pick a piece of interactive technology in public, used by multiple people. Write down your assumptions as to how it’s used, and describe the context in which it’s being used. Watch people use it, preferably without them knowing they’re being observed. Take notes on how they use it, what they do differently, what appear to be the difficulties, what appear to be the easiest parts. Record what takes the longest, what takes the least amount of time, and how long the whole transaction takes. Consider how the readings from Norman and Crawford reflect on what you see.


Unfortunately, it is my turn to do the presentation on Applications class, so I didn’t have much time to do the observation and didn’t get the chance to record strangers’ experiences. I want to discuss this topic base on my personal experience and short interviews with friends. And the example I am gonna talk is the elevator interfaces.

First of all, elevator surly it an interactive technology we used everyday. It has been used by multiple people in a long time, and it has been re-designed and improved so many times in the past.

Left: elevator of Tisch Building           Right: elevator of luxury building Trump Bay

I want to compare two different elevator interfaces and discuss the pros and cons of both of them.


Tisch elevator:

I really don’t like this traditional elevator interface, because:

a, Discoverability:

  • very hard to find the right button from so many floors if you are in a high building.

b, Understanding:

  • Every time when I was in rush, I pressed the closing door button repeatedly, because I hoped and tried to speeded up the closing process. Despite the fact that I knew it would not work, I did that anyway. I felt it is a design flaw, because it mislead users indeed.

c, Poor feedback:

  • The light of floor buttons is so dim, you are wondering “did I press the button hard enough?” “did the elevator received my request?” “should I press it again and maybe harder this time?” However, you just would not press it again-or at least not press boldly- because you are afraid you might accidentally cancel your request by the second press.


Trump elevator:

I personally prefer this kind elevator much better than the traditional kind.

  • Typing the floor number, instead of finding the floor button. This is much clearer and easier.
  • Privacy has been protected at some level – not entirely. Your floor number would not be seen by every one.
  • After you typed your floor, the screen will tell you which elevator you should wait and take. We all have this kind unpleasant experience, blindly walking back and forth in the front of 4 elevators while waiting for one of them open.
  • the hight of the interface panel is so disabled/kids friendly!



Lab test


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