Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Intelligent design?


My friends and I just didn't get it. We entered 1 Federal Street in Boston and found this very odd elevator system. You have to punch in the number of the floor to which you want to go on the outside of the elevator. Once you are inside, it takes you there. There is no inside panel of floor buttons. So, what if you made a mistake or want to change your mind after the doors have closed?

14 comments:

e-Patient Dave said...

I can understand the desire to do something clever, but I can't see how this could have been through test in (for instance) the designer's own building.

Unless, perhaps, it was a Dilbert sort of company where the boss's kid was the designer and nobody dared say they had a problem...

Anyway, thanks. I have to say, it wouldn't occur to put this on MY blog. :–)

Peter T said...

But but but you save bucket loads of energy. Must be a Leeds Certified Building. Cool.

Anonymous said...

It's outside of the elevators not outside of the elevator.
Thats' what makes the difference :)

http://www.ecmag.com/index.cfm?fa=article&articleID=4111

Jean Olivier

sleepyhead.org said...

This is called destination control. It's supposed to be more efficient. It sounds fun and better to me, but I've never seen one in person. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevator#Destination_Control_System

Anonymous said...

It is called a Destination Control System and it theoretically allows for optimized usage during peak periods, since it can direct a group of people going to the same floor or adjacent floors to a single elevator, rather than spread them out over multiple elevators. But yes, you don't have any control once you get into the elevator, so make sure you get that floor number right the first time.

Paul Levy said...

Here are some comments transferred from Facebook:

Jeff: The elevators in my building at work have been redesigned like that for about 2 years now. Almost everyone who works in the building, of course, is familiar with it, but it's easy to tell when someone is visiting the building...

Dave: This is a good example of the value of "advance demand information" in vehicle routing problems! -- dear to your Course 1 peers.

Elizabeth: I call this bad usability.

David: Would you rather wait a bit more for the elevator or get to pick your floor inside? I still vote for waiting more in case I changed my mind. Clearly this is optimized for regulars as opposed to visitors.

Paul Levy said...

More from Facebook:

Seth: There have been a number of stories about these elevators as they have become more common, particularly in NYC. I haven't really thought through the logic of it, but apparently as a matter of both queuing issues and energy use, they are considered unambiguously superior. Of course, that doesn't help the newbie lost inside.

Anonymous said...

This kind of elevator is quite common in Hong Kong.

Anonymous said...

So where's the comparative effectiveness study?!

nonlocal

Paul Levy said...

LMHO!

Greg said...

You know, I never thought that a taking a class on leadership would somehow, one day, lead to reading an article from Elevator World magazine.

Leadership >> Paul Levy >> Running A Hospital Blog >> Wikipedia >> Elevator World

Paul Levy said...

I hope you got a rise out of the experience.

Anonymous said...

These are also common in Chicago.

Mark Graban said...

The Marriott Marquis in Times Square has this system. They say it's more efficient. They say the waits for elevators used to be 20 minutes (!!!) in a peak time.

The problem, from a user standpoint is that it's completely unfamiliar and different. It's "better" but horribly disorienting. I think it's a good case of how logically better can be hard for people or an organization to absorb.

The Marriott had an FTE to stand there and show people how the elevator works (as they constantly have new first time users).

How often, once on the elevator, do you ever change your mind about where you are going?