I found the question What makes the elevator experience so awkward? rather interesting, but for practical purposes thought it was better to focus on one aspect of the experience that designers have tried to improve by providing some visual displays inside the elevator.

I assume that due to the physical and technical design constraints, the position of these displays are located usually above the buttons for the floors inside an elevator (even though some elevators don't have them inside) or on the wall near the entrance to the elevator.

Since it is impossible to determine the amount of time people may be waiting outside for the elevator, or the amount of time that they might spend inside the elevator, how do people determine what content is presented on these visual displays and how long contents are displayed before they are changed?

  • I want to believe there's a process around that but I highly doubt that's the case. I would bet they're "sold" for a set time period much like a billboard or they're attached to a corporate initiative. Either way, I find it unlikely that changing out content is a high priority for anyone. Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 16:11
  • maybe a better question is, "how can displays in elevators be used to make the experience more comfortable" Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 16:13

2 Answers 2


Your answer will change depending on the type of content.

On the touristy side, I've seen elevators that match a the city's skylight and plays a timeline, others clear ones located in a mountain where for the first 300 ft you see rock and then suddenly gives off to a view 300ft off the ground, giving quite the scare. The "content" itself can simply be the unobstructed view, or experience.

It would also depend on dimension. A small elevator offers different opportunities vs a large wholesale store one. Constrains such as eye-sight level vs distance to content limits how much space you can play with.

You could also argue that elevators are perfect spots for Ads. It is a constrained space shared with strangers, so your Ad serves as a focus point away from staring at other people. It's almost the same feeling as cramped subways.

Or you could have entire elevator interiors branded. People do this in subways a lot, where the entire subway interior is plastered with giant textures / Ads.

Other examples include elevator pranks (find them on Youtube).

Really the possibilities are endless, only constrained by what you can do within a contract agreement.


The displays should reflect the basic process which goes beyond the question: ( we call them lifts not elevators in the UK)

1 - Call Lift = One button. It lights up to show its active. (And depresses for blind people) Extra points for a countdown to arrival indicator

2 - Once in lift = Press floor button. It should light up to indicate its selected (It also depresses). Other passengers may select additional floors.

Also there needs to be an indicator in the car showing the current floor level.

And an audio announcement of each floor for blind people.

The interesting question is how you help blind people find the controls in the first place ?

I'm sure there must be design standards for lift controls. Lifts have been around a long time.

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