The 1,000 Floor Elevator


#1

How would you design an interface for a 1,000 floor elevator?

This is a classic design problem that’s been posed in many-a-UX interview. I thought it’d be interesting to approach the problem as a community of UXers and see what we can come up with as a group.

A lot has been written about this problem, but I’d like our approach to be fresh and our own. Let’s see what we come up with!

###I will act as moderator-- please feel free to ask any clarifying questions.


##User Feedback

User feedback from @jdebari :

As someone who has been using these elevators a lot lately, I really don’t like them much.
There is a lack of control since there is no keypad inside the elevator I feel a bit trapped. All other UI seems to have been thrown out the window (i.e. which floor am I on as I am going up or down, or which floor am I going to again?).

The speed and less crowding is a plus, maybe it will just take some time to get used to the new way of doing things

From @fieldingj:

I really liked the elevators at the Vancouver Hyatt Regency (IA Summit 2017) where you touched the floor number you needed it and it told you which elevator to get on.

##What We Know So Far

Note: This section contains answers to questions asked by the community as a whole.

  • We’re designing for four elevators. One goes from floor 0 (ground floor) to floor 333. The next goes from 334 to 667. The third goes from 668 to 1000. The final has access to all floors. The building has several floors which are not accessible without special access-- floors 17, 222, 831, and 999-- and there is no floor 13 (as is tradition in many tall buildings.)

##Early Solutions


#2

A bit of a segue, but I was fascinated to read about destination control elevators in Don Norman’s DOET. We don’t have them here in NZ (I assume because buildings aren’t tall enough to require them).

Do you think that kind of control would work in this case? People literally type in the floor that they want to go to.


#3

For the curious:

Miconic 10 is a revolutionary control system that groups passengers according to their registered destinations. Miconic 10® is based on one very simple, but highly effective idea:

You register your destination on a keypad before you enter the elevator. After that, Miconic 10 takes over. This new concept in elevator traffic management eliminates pushbuttons inside the elevator cab. Miconic 10 already knows where you’re going. Miconic 10 also Eliminates rushing to get to the first available elevator and crowding in cars.

  • Offers special features for people with disabilities.
  • Can be tied into existing building systems.
  • Speeds your destination time by an average of 30%.

http://www.schindler.com/za/internet/en/mobility-solutions/products/destination-technology/destination-control-technology.html


#4

Here’s a great article I read recently, which tackles this very question. The following quote summarizes it well:

Potential employers don’t pose design challenges with the expectation that you blow them away with your ingenuity or clever solutions. They want to see if you ask probing questions that uncover constraints, or if you rush to the whiteboard without deeper understanding. Being a designer means fighting the presumptive reflex, which takes disciplined reasoning and self awareness in order to truly understand the context of a problem. Although there is no guaranteed way to pass any given design challenge, the surest way to fail is to offer answers before questions.


#5

Ha. Doug and I both read that same article – which is what prompted him to post this topic.

My recommendation is not to read it before having a go. :wink:


#6

As someone who has been using these elevators a lot lately, I really don’t like them much.
There is a lack of control since there is no keypad inside the elevator I feel a bit trapped. All other UI seems to have been thrown out the window (i.e. which floor am I on as I am going up or down, or which floor am I going to again?).
The speed and less crowding is a plus, maybe it will just take some time to get used to the new way of doing things. :slight_smile:


#7

I see! Sorry, didn’t mean to ruin the fun! :blush:


#8

No apology necessary. It’s a really interesting article.

Welcome, btw. :slight_smile:


#9

Thanks! You have a great community here. I’m excited to be a part of it. :slight_smile:


#10

We’re happy to have you!


#11

I think we can use Siri to interact with the elevator.

Hey Siri take me to @dougcollins office.
ding ding


#12

I like the idea. What other use cases could we build for a conversational UI?


#13

The first thing that came to my mind was a keypad or a touch panel to enter the number of floors. But, I suppose 1000 floors’ lift will be so crowded that an individual will hardly get enough space around keypads to enter the number of their floors. Yes, you can multiple keypads at several places, but I think I also prefer an idea of a Siri interacting with me.

I would also assume that there will be multiple lifts to reach 1000 floors. In that case, an individual can enter their preferred location in the lift lobby and lifts can be prioritized to take people to their respective floors at the earliest. Or different lifts for different floor ranges.

I might also think about an app for this 1000 floor lift, where I can enter my floor number and may be passwords for private floor access.

But there are many questions that pop-up before you think about designing it, like who will be using it, which floors it will stop, whether it’s residential or commercial and much more, these questions will be determining for the UX.

thanks @dougcollins for posting it, it will be interesting to see different opinions on it.


#14

First question - how many floors does the elevator actually stop at?

Second question - is it used by humans?

:slight_smile:


#15

So… Very quick, very dirty, but this is my take.:sweat_smile:

  • Big touch screen, the model of the exact elevator inside a model of the exact building.

  • Drag the elevator to your desired floor, read about what is on that floor, press big GO button!

  • This approaches requires the building to be segmented somewhat intuitively, so that each floor group is clearly labelled and color coded.

While the sad truth may be that this approach is way too far from convention and doesn’t play on expectation, I added a more traditional number pad that people can default to. I also have no idea if this would get too messy with 1000 different floors. A clear floor plan would need to accompany this solution.


#16

1.) All 1,000 :slight_smile:
2.) The elevator is used by humans exclusively.

Great questions! Keep them coming!


#17

Heheh, very good thing to remember.


#18

Hi everyone,

I have questions:
Is there just the one elevator that goes to all 1000 floors or are there multiple elevators that go to all 1000 floors? If there are multiple elevators, then I would think we’d want the system to collect people based on direction and maybe floors.

Is there any research on the efficiency of elevators? For instance, how to group people’s destinations in the most efficient way? [I’m thinking about the studies on airline boarding procedures where it was found that random is the most efficient.]

What happens when people punch in the wrong floor number or change their mind? How would they cancel or edit their choice?

What do people do/see while they wait? Could the display be used for ads?

This is fun!!

Always,
Jeanne

PS
I really liked the elevators at the Vancouver Hyatt Regency (IA Summit 2017) where you touched the floor number you needed it and it told you which elevator to get on.


#19

1.) Is there just the one elevator that goes to all 1000 floors or are there multiple elevators that go to all 1000 floors? We have a set of four elevators,. One goes from floor 0 (ground floor) to floor 333. The next goes from 334 to 667. The third goes from 668 to 1000. The final has access to all floors. The building has several floors which are not accessible without special access-- floors 17, 222, 831, and 999-- and there is no f3loor 13 (as is tradition in many tall buildings.)
2.) Is there any research on the efficiency of elevators? I’m unsure if there is existing research, but looking into this would be a good idea
3.) **What happens when people punch in the wrong floor number or change their mind? How would they cancel or edit their choice?**This is a UX/UI question that I’ll leave up to the designer.
4.) What do people do/see while they wait? Could the display be used for ads? Another UX/UI question that I’ll leave up to the designer.


#20

I tried searching for Otis case study on Burj Khalifa. But not able to find and they have 57 elevators :open_mouth: