By Tor Norbye on Sep 20, 2004
I had a really interesting experience in the hotel this week: I got in the Elevator and there were no buttons anywhere to select my destination floor! Turns out I just followed people into the elevator; I shouldn't have done that.
The floor selector is OUTSIDE the elevator, on every floor. When you get to the elevator entrance, press the floor you want to go to. It then tells you which of the three elevator doors to use. You get in, and the elevator will go to the desired floors.
My first reaction was that this was a really bad user design; I have been trained to enter an elevator and look for the console to make sure my floor's button is selected - so this was discomforting.
But on the second trip a little while later I realized that this is a superior design! Provided of course people can get used to it - which may take a while.
Why is it superior? Because it allows the elevator controller to schedule the three elevators more optimally. That's because as soon as you arrive to the console on your floor, you tell it EXACTLY where you want to go, not just up or down. This extra information lets the elevator scheduler make better decisions since it doesn't have to wait until you get into the elevator to find out exactly where you want to go.
For example, let's say three different people arrive at the elevator on the eight floor. If they all press the down button in a regular elevator, one elevator will be dispatched to the eight floor. However, in this new system, if the three people are going to different floors and press say 1, 3 and 5, then all three elevators will be dispatched to the eight floor. And so on. I've used the elevator for a couple of days now and have totally gotten used to it and I definitely prefer it.