<|> or >|< ?

Apologies to Simon for not holding the lift for him on leaving work this evening.

I get very confused between the <|> and >|< buttons. When you analyse the buttons, they make complete sense; but when confronted with the option accompanied by a very aggressive deadline (the lift doors closing), I never fail to fumble for the right one. Tonight, Simon was delayed by this fumbling. I, however, suffered no such delay.


4 Responses to “<|> or >|< ?”

  1. Jon on June 21st, 2007 05:17

    Dan, this is not only funny, it makes complete sense.

    Looking at the two symbols, under pressure I know which seems like the right choice – the ‘inwards’ one.

    Pressing the ‘outwards’ one is contrary to how you’re feeling with an aggressive deadline.

    It’s like being given the choice of a red button or a green button – the instinct would be to press the red button.

  2. elise on June 21st, 2007 11:51

    i have contemplated this exact subject before. whenever i’m trying to quickly go for the door open button, i reach and then panic [momentarily—ha], as it is NOT apparent from first glance and you really have to think about it. doesn’t matter what country you’re in or what brand elevator.

    not good UI design, for sure. there has to be a better way…

  3. Anon on June 21st, 2007 18:58

    At least you did not hit the alarm button like I once did…

  4. Steve on June 21st, 2007 21:20

    I’ve suffered this conundrum and I thought I was just being thick. It’s heartening to know I’m not alone.

    I’ve always thought that, pictorially, the >|< option looks like a little face with squinty eyes, which is the sort of anguished expression someone might adopt if you pressed it - as in: “Nngg! Dan’s pressed the button to close the doors AGAIN…” and this acts like a warning not to do so.

    There are scenarios in which this logic can backfire though, as highlighted in many a Hollywood film where the protagonist manages to close the doors in the nick of time, thereby shutting axe-wielding maniacs, zombie hordes or acid-spewing aliens on the other side. In these cases, although your adversary is liable to be equally as disappointed as Simon at not having made the open doors, his absence in the lift is most definitely of benefit to you.

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