Answer: What does the mystery button do?

The mystery button from yesterday’s post is now explained.

Here’s the photo shown yesterday:

This button lives in a long hallway from the main lobby of the Hyatt Regency in Rosemont (near Chicago).

The hallway leads to the elevators for the executive wing of the hotel.

Pushing the button simply activates the elevator before you get there – saving you a few extra seconds of having to wait. I never would have noticed the button if I didn’t see someone else use it first.


11 thoughts on “Answer: What does the mystery button do?

    1. I walked past it several times before I saw someone else use it – it was completely invisible to me otherwise.

      1. Maybe gesture technology could be an alternative (Kinect could do the job –>

        Users would simply point to the elevator to activate it. Like with the button though, people would have to be taught about this functionality.

        It would help that objects compatible would with this type of interaction would show a visual cue informing the user that they can interact with them “from the distance”.

      2. Gestures have the big problem of discoverability. Take the soap and paper towel dispensers in public bathrooms. They’re more annoying than they are worth.

        This entire scenario fits nicely into the pile of “fun to think about but mostly a problem that doesn’t need to be solved”. I’ve never once worried about how to save an extra 5 seconds when on my way to my hotel room.

  1. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but you raise a good point that I think is often overlooked: A clever design can look stupid when taken out of context / when not looking at the bigger picture.

    1. Wasn’t intentional. Well it was in that I deliberately took that first picture to make it as hard to guess as possible.

      Pictures are interesting – when we see them we imagine there is no other way to look at the object, but point of view has a huge influence on what we think we see.

  2. The elevator in my building is very slow, so when I get to the elevator and see that it’s on the top floor, I generally hit the button then walk around the corner to my mailroom, open my box, retrieve my mail, toss the adverts, then walk back. I’ve gotten it timed to where I usually get back to the elevator as it’s opening up.

    Something like this makes real sense in that regard, if you’re an impatient person like myself.

    1. Point taken. It might just be easier to add the button than it is to make the elevator faster (some elevators, especially in old buildings, are very old and slow).

  3. I’m not sure that this is a good idea. If I pressed the button and the elevator arrived almost immediately, then I’d have to run to catch it before it closed again. So I’m guessing that this may not be a good idea for a physically challenged or an elderly person.

    1. Its not instant – it just saves a few seconds. An instant elevator would require a teleportation device, in which case you could have the ‘elevator’ wherever you wanted.

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