Elevator Embarrassment

For a very long time I tried blaming myself for being stupid and tried to keep this thought to myself. Starting with disclaimers just protects you from unwanted opinions so here is mine. Please consider this as a personal opinion and in no way is related to any person in real or virtual. I am not trying to offend anybody or any organisations in particular here and hence this confession of mine should be taken in the right spirit.

I have just wondered for very long now on the topic of how human brains train themselves and yet have not been able to come to any conclusive inference. I always believed that we humans get used to things and adapt to things. But there is this small little thing that I have been struggling for years now, which I thought would be good to verbalise as it might help people like me who have not been very vocal about their weaknesses to come out of their shell.

How many of you have invariably pressed the wrong door action button inside a lift, and then felt sorry or stupid about it. Many a times when you get into the lift and see somebody running towards the elevator, as a gesture and reflex you want to help and instead of the open button you hit the close. On top of that, in an attempt to really help out you don’t do that once but keep pressing the wrong button thinking that the button might be a bit hard to press. All this combined with a slightly strained relationship with the person you were trying to help out, you feel worse.

To cut the long story short, I struggled to decipher icons on the elevator panel for open or close and I think they have been wrongly designed. All the components for the icons and representation on it are right but it is just the way we humans interpret pictures. If you compare the close button with the open button, then you will notice that the open button seems to denote things closer while the close button shows things apart. This is a visual illusion due to the direction of arrows and is a very classic example.

In my opinion people interpret things imagining the final state in their mind and not the current. So if I have to open the door I have a picture in my mind of doors being apart and other way around if I want to close.

I tried not to mess around too much with the current icons on the elevators and make a small change in them to help fit my mental model of elevator doors.

Please do comment and express your opinion on it so that I can either put the blame on myself or help make life easier for generations to come.

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