After months of construction the downstairs lobby in my office building is done. They've gone with a slick minimalist style, marble and glass. First day it's open I go to use the elevators, there’s four of them. I hit "up", another person hits "down". An elevator shows up, dings, and we are confronted with this:
It appears the light is saying "Hi, I'm here", but refuses to tell us which way it's going. The stranger and I look at each other with quizzical looks on our faces. We both decide to take a chance and get on. Elevator starts going up, the stranger sighs. A few days later, several people are waiting for the elevator, the elevator shows up, it dings, and then it looks like this:
Ah.. a red light and a white light. So, red is down (hell?) and white is up (heaven?). A person would have to use the elevators more than once for it to be blatantly obvious what was going on. Luckily on my second use, the red light appeared. So, in their effort to be slick and minimalist they violated simple usability rules. They haven't followed the convention of arrows, something that people are used to. You have to use the elevator more than once for it to dawn on you that white means up and red means down. The first time you see the light, there's no context. I've been observing people's reactions to this high use bank of elevators and as expected there's a ton of confusion and people getting on the wrong elevators. With an elevator there should be zero learning curve.