Was at a new mall recently and their only escalator down to B2 was under maintenance. Naturally, we headed for the nearest lift lobby and was not surprised to see a huge crowd of people waiting for the lift. What surprised us was the wait itself. Felt like we waited forever, and yet we were still going nowhere.
Upon closer observation, we realised the lift was not even reaching B2. Here are the two key problems:
- Misleading down button
Naturally we hit the button that allows us to achieve our goal which was going down to B2
- Down button that actually lights up when pressed (look at image)
Seeing the button light up is an affirmation that the lift is working as we expect it to, and that is going down to B2
- Misleading down arrow on the level indicator when people are entering the lift
Seeing this, we would think we are on the right track, and we enter the lift expecting to go down
If the lift is unable to reach B2, the down button should not be there to confuse people. If the lift is unable to reach B2 temporarily, then the button should have been covered up to prevent confusion.
We could also not have the button light up so that people can infer from the visual cue that this lift might not be working as expected. However, this is somewhat tricky, because there are some old lifts where the button does not light up but the lift still works.
Even though there were words on the wall indicating that “Lifts serve B1 to L4 only“, I noticed most people who went to the lift lobby did not take a second look at it and went straight for the down button. This could be likely because they already knew where they wanted to go, and didn’t need more information, unlike someone who might be looking for something specific, say, the carpark, but is unsure which level(s) it is situated at.
After seeing too many cases of confused passengers, and directing traffic flow away from the lift lobby, I decided to ask for a marker, paper and masking tape from the information counter, and wrote “This lift does NOT go to B2. Please use the other lift lobby.” My friend suggested to add an arrow in the direction of the correct lift lobby, which I thought was a great visual cue for anyone who may not be able to read/understand English. Since the down button was the root cause to all these unnecessary confusion, I deliberately pasted the paper over it. If you can’t see it, you would know this lift doesn’t go down and you wouldn’t want to use it.
When we went back to B1 after we were done, we were glad to see there was no more crowd at that lift lobby. Instead, we saw people who walked in, read the notice, and immediately walked back out.