How elevators are built to deceive you

How elevators are built to deceive you"The stairs… the stairs… for the love of God take the stairs!"
The 1983 movie "The Lift."
Some may think elevators are scary, but manufacturers want them to be more efficient and friendly, even if they do have to fool you a little.

Unlike normal elevators, "smart elevators" work by having a passenger enter which floor number they want in a console in the lobby, and then are told to enter a specific elevator which will take them to their floor. It’s called "destination dispatch." However…

"Smart elevators are strange elevators, because there is no control panel in the car; the elevator knows where you are going. People tend to find it unnerving to ride in an elevator with no buttons; they feel as if they had been kidnapped by a Bond villain. Helplessness may exacerbate claustrophobia. In the old systemboard elevator, press buttonyou have an illusion of control; elevator manufacturers have sought to trick the passengers into thinking they’re driving the conveyance. In most elevators, at least in any built or installed since the early nineties, the door-close button doesn’t work. It is there mainly to make you think it works. (It does work if, say, a fireman needs to take control. But you need a key, and a fire, to do that.) Once you know this, it can be illuminating to watch people compulsively press the door-close button. That the door eventually closes reinforces their belief in the button’s power. It’s a little like prayer. Elevator design is rooted in deceptionto disguise not only the bare fact of the box hanging by ropes but also the tethering of tenants to a system over which they have no command."

Up and Then Down – The lives of elevators, The New Yorker>>

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