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I have seen lifts which displays the currently crossing floor number in the display so that we can know where(In which floor) we are. (This is commonly found in most lifts)

Recently I have used a set of lifts in my new workplace which display the destination floor. Suppose if we are in ground floor and if we press sixth floor button and once the door closes, it displays "6".

What are the pros and cons of the following ways to display the floor numbers in the displays in the lifts when someone is inside the lift?

  • Displaying currently crossing floor
  • Displaying the destination floor where the lift stops next
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Both have pros and cons so ideally, you want to be able to display both:

  • Current Floor: ideally scrolling. That way the user knows where they are as the lift is travelling. If you just have this, the user has no idea where the lift will stop next, causing potential frustration / anxiety and likely leading towards errors and/or wasted effort pressing buttons needlessly.

  • Next destination floor: should be static, with the numbers rising / descending towards it. That way the user knows where they're going. If you just have this, it's less of an issue but can cause user frustration as they won't know where in the building they are until they reach the destination floor. That may not get in the way of the actual functioning of the lift but it can be upsetting for users inside.

Many lifts get around these issues by combining the two. Light-up floor buttons on the control panel show which floors have been selected and a display (sometimes combined with a recorded audio message for accessibility) showing the lift's current position within the building. These can be combined but there should be some way of differentiating current position and next destination to avoid crossover confusion.

  • In case, the lift started from 0th floor and it is destined for 10th floor, suddenly a user from a different floor(5th floor) presses the button what happens when the lift operates by Next destination floor method? Will the display shows 10th floor or 5th floor – Charles Green Way Sep 27 '13 at 10:43
  • Interesting point. That'd require an additional protocol for notifying the user inside the lift, ideally. In your example, perhaps a combination of the 5th floor button flashing before going solid and a notice of change appearing on the display could help to alert anyone inside the lift of the change. I haven't ever seen this in practice, however. Generally the lift just stops and the indicator is enough to show the user inside the lift that it's not their floor. That may cause a moment's confusion but nothing too serious. – Henry Oz Sep 27 '13 at 13:14
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Interesting concept, although I don't know if I like it.

Here a couple of things to consider

Confusion can occur.

What happens if there are multiple floors pushed? Does it show the highest number? If it does, what happens to all the other floors? That could cause some confusion, especially those who see it for the first time; they could think that their floor is going to be skipped and will go to the highest one.

Users love progress.

Users really REALLY love progress. Why? Because it gives them a rough estimate of how much time is left. Whether it is a website, an app, or a physical object like a lift, users want to know how much time they are spending on something that's not so important.

Where on earth are we?

What if someone forgot to press their floor number and want to. Where are they? I don't know know! ACH! Now I have to wait more time! That's not good, from a usability standpoint of view. You want to make the process much easier for people. Also, what if there are more than 20 floors? That can easily happen in a hotel, office building, residential high rise, etc. Again, if they forgot to press their floor, or the press didn't go through and they noticed later on in the lift, it could cause huge problems as explained earlier.

In my opinion, I don't like the idea.

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