Thursday, March 22, 2012


I'm at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans for the IA Summit. The most common topic of conversation seems to be the elevators in the building. They're interesting, because they are controlled by programmable soft keypads which can be changed by the hotel for whatever is going on. You scan your room key, and the pad tells you which elevator will take you to your room. No buttons to push on the elevator.

It's cool, because:

  • It's flexible and programmable
  • There are no buttons to push
  • It increases guest security
  • It seems to improve the flow of traffic

It's awkward, because:

  • Certain banks sometimes go to certain floors, and they change.  You find out whether you won the jackpot after you scan your key.
  • There's no signage. 
  • There's no signage telling you to scan your key, so people mill about, trying to understand what to do
  • People who don't understand sometimes get on an open elevator which has no buttons, and end up on a floor where they don't belong.

My conference is about information design, so it's not surprising (but still amusing) that there are several hundred people available to critique the user experience. Including me.

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