Nudging to choose elevator arrows correctly

Outside the elevator one mostly gets these two signs for going up or down.

The idea is if you have to go up, you press the upward pointing arrow. And if you have to go down then you press the downward pointing arrow.

Sorry for explaining the obvious signs but most people do not understand the signs. They end up pressing either different sign from where they want to go (like upward arrow for going down) or both the indicator signs. This leads to confusion and time wastage as people enter the elevator assuming it will go down/up but it is headed for reverse direction.

I just noted on my office elevator that they have added text next to the arrows – “To go up, press this” and “To go down press this”. This is much better and likely to lead people into making the right choice. This is a kind of a nudge with a difference. We usually use images to nudge people as they don’t understand text, here it is the other way round.

Based on this, I would suggest elevator companies to start adopting these arrows instead:

5 Responses to “Nudging to choose elevator arrows correctly”

  1. Reji Jose Says:

    Nice post Amol. I have noticed this happening a couple of time too. And it happened when the current location of the elevator is displayed beside it.

    I think its because people think the button controls the direction of the elevator, i.e. navigate the elevator from the current position. Incidentally, people press the “down” sign when the elevator is at a level above them to “bring the elevator down” & the “up” sign when the elevator is at a level below them to “bring the elevator up” irrespective of where they want to go. Where they want to go is controlled by the buttons inside the elevator compartment. I believe its just a different perspective than sheer stupidity.


  2. David Says:

    I recently saw a video where a physics professor explains exactly the same problem (if anyone around here speaks German:

    He says that his faculty labelled the buttons with “to go down, press here” and “to go up, press here”, but people where still confused. Is it me who is supposed to go down or the elevator?

  3. Nudge blog · Assorted links Says:

    […] 6) The U.K. government wants to make digital delivery a default. Hat tip Amol Agrawal. […]

  4. Elevator Logic: how to use a lift | Manjree's Blog Says:

    […] World a Better Place ( How to Use an Elevator ( Nudging to choose elevator arrows correctly ( Going up in the world? Why where you stand in the lift reflects your […]

  5. Pomoc drogowa 24h Śląsk Says:

    Pomoc drogowa 24h Śląsk

    Nudging to choose elevator arrows correctly | Mostly Economics

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