From the top of Highest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, 163 floors

Interface for 1000 floors Elevator

I googled some problems that are challenging to solve, but does not necessarily exist in real life. I wanted to think beyond common problems. I found one : Design Interface for a elevator in a building of 1000 floors. I took this as a UX challenge to come to a solution in maximum of two days!

This is how I prefer to learn personally : Short deadlines, Good challenges, Unique solutions. Personal projects like this keeps me moving.

The Burj Khalifa, previously known as the Burj Dubai, is the tallest building in the world. It measures 2,723 feet high and has 163 floors. Interesting! Design for 5x taller! I can’t imagine the view and feel from the rooftop.

This seemed pretty broad so I thought to narrow down to few key things :-

  1. Who lives here?
    A 1000 floor building is potentially a whole city living inside a mega structure, from companies to families, so it is feasible there is everything a city needs (parks, schools, playgrounds, hospitals, theaters etc) within the building. Which means everyone is a user (kids, adults, people with vision / auditory / motor disabilities).
  2. Speed and time
    Lets assume the speed to be around 22 mph (the Burj Khalifa’s top speed). This means it’d take around 8 and half minutes to get to the 1000th floor when travelling at top speed.
  3. Let’s assume for our purposes that it’s a single, single-decker elevator.
  4. Let’s say it’s a biggish elevator, can hold around 50 people, probably has a few seats for taking rest, and a TV screen (separate from the interface) to help with all the waiting.

Obvious idea : Scale Up!

The first idea that came to my mind was to put 1000 buttons, in a 10*100 grid, with few extra buttons.


  1. Too long. You’d need a ladder if you were going to a higher floor. It’d be taller than the height of an average human (or else you’d be dealing with very tiny buttons).
  2. Its likely that a you’ll spend a good amount of time searching for the right floor button to press. A small pro although, is that you only need to press one button and you’re done.

So a 10*100 grid is obviously not practical. Neither is a 20*50 grid keeping in mind point 2 above.

The Solution!

  1. Adding and removing floors should be easy. Feedback should be seen visually.
  2. Current floor, height and direction.
  3. Total number and list of all the floors where the lift will stop should be shown in chronological order, separating user called floors and user input floors.
  4. Time and details for the next floor.
  5. Quick links for popular floors (parking, playground, hospital).
  6. Open and Close buttons.
  7. Braille and audio feedback, considering the type of user base.
  8. Capacity (weight).
  9. Emergency call and alarm. Fan and Light buttons.
Using Keypad to enter floors
Using scroll list for entering floors

Overall, this solution works well for what it is, a quick way for multiple people to navigate between a large number of floors. Of course, if I was looking to actually implement this in real life, I’d go the multi elevator, double decker car route for efficiency purposes. Although that might not make a significant difference when it comes to using the interface I propose.

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