Improve lift-button design for added safety

A very common problem in the use of lifts is to press the close button when one intends to open the lift door.

A few design features may aggravate this problem.

First, the relative positions of the open and close buttons are not consistent among lifts.

In many lifts, the open button is closer to the door while, in others, it is away from the door.

Second, the embossed symbols on the buttons are not distinctive, and back lighting in some lifts makes it harder to tell the buttons apart.

For adults with poor eyesight, such as old folk, this slows down the response in pressing the correct button.

The few milliseconds that the brain takes to differentiate between the open and close buttons could lead to accidents.

A simple remedy is to paint all open buttons green, but to leave the close button unpainted.

In time, users will get accustomed to pressing the green button when they want to open the lift door, without any need to think about which is the correct button to press.

This might reduce the number of accidents due to the wrong buttons being pressed. It might also make the green open-door button a "uniquely Singapore" feature.

Wong Khoon Yoong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2015, with the headline 'Improve lift-button design for added safety'. Print Edition | Subscribe