Thursday, February 02, 2006

Design Flaw

I have become something of a design geek over the past few years. It all started when I worked with a couple of very talented user interface designers at previous jobs. At first, I thought they were cranks because they couldn't shut up about making things that already seemed pretty easy even easier, but after a while, I began to understand what they were saying. Software is way too complicated, and most high-tech gadgets aren't far behind. Once your eyes have been opened to the unnecessary complexities foisted upon us by our modern day gadgets and appliances, you start seeing the world a little differently.

Yesterday, I got into the same elevator that I ride every day at work and it suddenly dawned on me that I have never seen an elevator where the floor numbers are actually on the buttons. You always have to find the floor number, then find the button next to that number. I've always felt that finding the right button in a n elevator was unnecessarily complex, but I was never sure why I felt that way. My point is not that it's hard to operate an elevator, my point is that it and hundreds of other tasks that we all have to do on a daily basis could be a little bit easier.

Speaking of design, if you're ever looking for an excellent but lesser-known museum in New York City, check out the Cooper-Hewitt. It's a museum dedicated to (you guessed it) design housed in an Andrew Carnegie mansion.



Greg Raiz said...

Thanks for the props. The reason elevators don't have the numbers on the buttons is because it saves a tiny amount of money by having just one type of button that gets manufactured.

It can also sometimes help accessibility for blind people but that's another topic.

I'm glad you got the GUI bug. Hope all is well.
- Greg Raiz

dhodge said...

That certainly makes sense. It's the kind of feature that even the most designed-obsessed would probably balk at spending extra money for.