Elevators make us reason about mathematics (for instance, vectors... when an elevator goes from one floor to another, you can visualize the vector pointing from one floor, with a number, to another floor, with another number), physics (for instance, engines, and pulleys), and world exploration (almost, as though, through a door to an immersion, that takes, us, and our imagination (into another world) (if we want to enter).

However, it may be, that people may be overly distracted, busy, and, sort of enchanted, to the extent that they may be unable to discern into a given physical location due to a condition which may be either inherited or one of the effects of taking a particular type of medication. The information is there, but the eye must, rest, by holding the same vector direction in space, and remain, at that angle. It is something that probably has more to do with neuroscience than with opticians, but, I may be wrong.

Beside this condition, there are also people affected by dementia, blind users, and people with motor impairments that may not allow them to press an elevator button (for example, hand weakness, or lack of limbs, in which case, things could be operated via the Google Assistant present in a front pocket and connected, perhaps, via a microphone and headphones, perhaps the Android device would have a strong speakerphone and very sensitive microphone to allow for the distance between the mouth and the Android device). In this case, a blind user could not use Braille to figure out where on the elevator the buttons were, and could not read what was on the display of the elevator. Perhaps, the elevator could speak, but the user was more prone to pay attention to the speakerphone for their Android phone, which had personalized messages, then from the elevator speakerphone, which had more global messages, which are for everyone, and may not be directed to the person using the elevator itself. So, as the user pays attention to all messages from the elevator speakerphone and does not remember which number they were going to, they get distracted (also, because, every number from the elevator speakerphone may overwrite what number the user has in their head, as they may be thinking of that number to go to). This could affect both normal users, dementia users, worried, users, Down syndrome users, or simply users, whom, once somebody on the elevator tells them something, they get distracted to the point where they forget what was on their mind. They may have to focus on smiling, or interacting (and forget the number they were going to). The teeth may have problems, and distract them from stuff due to drooling or teeth pose planning.

So, here is my question:

How would you design an elevator friendly to these situations?

Here is what I think would be nice: when you approach the elevator, Bluetooth kicks in (if you have the Bluetooth elevator settings in Android phone configured to on). In this case, you receive a notification. One for each elevator or elevator set. You click it and Google Assistant opens up. You tell it the elevator number you want to go to, using your voice. Mute people can type it in. The elevator has a scale, and when you enter, and go on top of the elevator, it figures you are in. The phone must not be thrown into the elevator. The button gets automatically pressed. When you get to your destination, your phone tells you "arrived at floor 5", or "person name, arrived at floor 5", with some security issues, or, simply (this would be better) vibrates, and the user that has the phone by their body feels the vibration, and a notification tells the user to exit.

This, would be nice.

You would never explore a floor by accident, but you would get to your destination, and, could press the elevator button from your phone (useful on crowded elevators).

Perhaps there would be a number of ways, in which such an app could also be improved, including having a list of numbers to choose from, which would be automatically imported from an appointments app. Or, perhaps, this would make it worse, because when you stop at an office they may have to redirect you to this or that place beforehand, and that may be out of the plan.

How would you improve this design?


1 Answer 1


Unless the elevator belongs to the person with a disability or it's installed in a facility for disabled people, this is basically impossible. I mean, it's technically possible; in fact, it's absolutely trivial. But it's a huge security risk, and nobody in their right mind would give you control of an elevator. Just imagine a terrorist group taking control of elevators, and you'll quickly see why this won't happen.

Voice-controlled elevators exist. They're more problematic than helpful because background noise causes many issues. But they do exist; in London, as a non-native speaker, I used one, and the elevator didn't catch my accent 50% of the time.

Also, elevators that announce the floor are common. Almost all modern elevators do that.

For accessibility, I could suggest "adding a set of controls that are lower than the usual ones." This can be easily achieved with a horizontal set of controls that are within reach for people in wheelchairs, kids, and very tall people.

But using an external device... no, it will never happen unless it's limited to a very controlled group. And even then, I highly doubt it. It's too risky.

Realistically, most people with a disability are usually helped without even asking. Those who are so severely limited in their movements will rarely be alone. So, all in all, I don't expect any elevator engineer to go the extra mile to cater to such an edge case.

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