Complicated could be deadly

Elevator fire panel

I was riding the elevator down from my doctor’s office yesterday and glanced over at the elevator panel. The emergency buttons caught my eye and it occurred to me that something that is intended to be used in the frantic throes of an emergency like a fire in a medical building should never have twelve steps.

And never be printed in small white lettering on a field of scarlet.

I’m sure that the steps were printed there to comply with some laws or other. After all, the chances of a fire breaking out in a modern medical facility are pretty slim. But if it did happen, it would be deadly.

Fireman need a standardized, human-intuitive interface for elevators. Firemen need a Steve Jobs approach.

What mission-critical things in your business are you doing that are simply “complying with the law” that you should be designing?