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Mark Atwood
visibility and stress, transparent elevators
At the building I was working in the past few days, the elevators were transparent. The walls and doors were made of glass, and the mechanism was completely visible, top to bottom, 8 stories.

It was kind of fun to watch them run up and down their rails. And when you pushed the call button, you could just look up or down, see the elevator moving towards you, and have a sense of when it was going to get to you.

No stress, much fun.

Compare this to the common experience with most elevators. You press the button, and wait, and press it again, and wait. And wonder when it was going to come. And wonder. You have no idea that it's there, until it finally dings, and the doors open.

Even if the wait was no more than it was with the visible elevators, the stress level is much higher.

This principle generalizes. If you are building something, any if there is ever a chance that someone will have to wait for it, or puts their fate in it's hands, make it as transparent as possible. If you don't, I'm going to (correctly) think you either don't have any pride in your work, or you are wanting to lie to your users. Or both.

People need to see how things work, even if they can't do anything more than press the "call elevator" button.
3 comments or Leave a comment
From: neocuriosity Date: February 1st, 2008 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Amen, Brother.

What immediately springs to mind is Metro's Bus Tracker system, which in and of itself is a vast improvement over what they had before (nothing) but which could be so much better. I envision Tracker screens at most bus stops, alerts sent to PDAs when the bus passes a particular spot (i.e. "Gotta leave work now"), etc. Because waiting for the bus is stress and could be made much more transparent.

::sound of $.02::
amythis From: amythis Date: February 1st, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Since I'm afraid of heights, the transparent elevator would be beyond stressful for me, and I'd probably take the stairs, as long as there were no windows.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: February 1st, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
The floor of the elevator wasnt transparent, and the walls up to my waist where also not transparent. So you could just look at the floor and be fine.
3 comments or Leave a comment