Photo of the day: Elevator button or fire alert?

Folks, this post marks a special occasion. My “Photo of the day” posts have become so famous that I’m starting to receive submissions — well, I got one, from a very nice friend.

When I ran into Brian Shaler at SXSW, he told me that he had a great photo for me. He snapped it when he was at the PHX airport parking garage (that’s Phoenix for those not in the know). He told me it was a doozy, but nothing could have prepared me for this…

What you are looking at, ladies and gentleman, is a panel between two elevators in the parking garage. A good 80% of it is used to describe the operating procedures in case of fire, something that (while important) is probably needed less than 0.1% of the time, and just the bottom sliver of it is allocated for the 99.9% use case — access to the sole elevator button!

Not only is the button completely below eye-level according to Brian, but it’s also metal on metal, which doesn’t exactly help it stand out. Evidently it’s so well hidden that many-a prospective elevator rider must have stood there, brow furrowed, looking for the button to press. So someone got the bright idea to help accentuate it by placing three signs with red arrows around it. Looks like that person even took the time to think about the direction the arrow needed to point, and made two variations of the sign.

Obviously that person spent more time thinking about the problem than the dolt who manufactured the panel in the first place.

Great find, Brian, and thanks so much for sharing it!

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  1. says

    Haha Thanks for posting it, Whitney! I was actually wondering a day or two ago if you'd gotten it this time. Second time's a charm! :-)

  2. says

    When I was young, I was on an elevator with my grandmother at here work and ran into one of these type of elevator buttons. I was very young and excited for an elevator ride, but the button was above my reach. I got over excited to push the button that I jumped up and hit my hand on the panel. Guess which button I pushed? Yup, the fire button. My grandmother had me so scared that the fire department would be waiting at the bottom of the elevator to reprimand me. I was so scared and never misbehaved on an elevator again.

  3. says

    I saw this the other day at the registry of motor vehicles. It's the machine that distributes numbers for people waiting inline. Whatever the UI was must have been pretty bad, because the workers there created one of their own. Observing people using it, it seems the new one works quite well. Reminds me of a paper prototype…

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