The 1,000 Floor Elevator: Why Most Designers Fail Google’s Infamous Interview Design Challenge

I’m one of the designers that is featured in this article. I believe as a fellow designer, everyone has the right to state their own opinions and critiques about design. Unfortunately, there are a few assumptions that are wrong in this article that are taken out of context and without our permission.

1. This challenge was not meant for a Google interview question. 3 of the 4 of us did this as part of a homework assignment for school. We went to the same program, so seeing how our work is similar in nature means that we were all working with the same prompt. This was the homework assignment:

2. It is stated in our assignment prompt that the elevator has to be designed “for a building with mixed retail, commercial and residential inhabitants.” This goes against the point that there’s nothing that suggests there are any residential or commercial spaces. We could design spaces for animals or things, but if you Google the word “residential” the first definition that comes up is “designed for people to live in”, thus you can see how we decided to base our designs off of people.

3. The constraints given in this prompt are not arbitrary. We are told explicitly to think about: how a rider selects a floor, how progress and floors are displayed, and how to access a secure floor. We were constrained by the types of requirements that must be included, therefore it is common to see TVs, directories, and NFC card readers.

4. Lastly, real world design cannot happen without some constraints. Yes, in an ideal situation any designer would love to come up with things that are not constrained by time, money, or resources, but that’s not how companies operate. Putting realistic constraints in a hypothetical challenge in order to come up with a solution is something that most reasonable designers would do.

In the future, if you’d like to source another designer’s work it would be nice to check with us before making your own assumptions, especially since it’s public. Like your article states, the surest way to fail is to offer answers before questions.

I’m a big fan of sharing design work, but it seems you missed linking to any of our portfolios to provide additional context for readers. Here are the links to the actual portfolios that others and myself created around this prompt:





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