Grand Prize User Interface FAIL

Found in an apartment building lobby:

Apartment lobby call box
Apartment lobby call box

The LCD gibberish comes from an interaction with the camera shutter. It scrolls a lengthy set of instructions, but the peeling labels demonstrate ain’t nobody got time for that.

You were supposed to figure out how to use this thing with no instructions other than the scrolling display. In particular, the multi-multi-function keypad has no labels.

I suspect most folks just haul out their phones and call the tenant.

8 thoughts on “Grand Prize User Interface FAIL

  1. “You were supposed to figure out how to use this thing with no instructions other than the scrolling display.”

    “Don’t try to comprehend with your mind. Your minds are very limited. Use your intuition.”
    ― Madeleine L’Engle, A Wind in the Door ;-)

      1. “In many problems, a greedy strategy does not produce an optimal solution, but a greedy heuristic can yield locally optimal solutions that approximate a globally optimal solution in a reasonable amount of time.”
        — Wikipedia (Greedy algorithm ;-)

  2. I know those systems well. They were amazing back in the day–you entered the tenants apartment number, it called their phone number, and they could talk to you a press a number to unlock the door for you. And they are damned near indestructible, which is why so many are still in use after 30+ years.

    In fact, a lot of tenants use them as a front door key–they call themselves, it rings their cell phone, and they buzz themselves in.

    1. and they buzz themselves in

      I’d’a never thought of doing that!

      What could possibly go wrong with remote unlocking? [sigh]

      1. (Slightly related)
        The (soon to be former?) executive of LastPass was unavailable for comment.

        Store my passwords in the cloud, yessir. Pull the other one, it has bells on.

          1. Amazon occasionally bugs me to set up my cell phone for “two-factor” alternate login. Hard pass; my elderly flip phone doesn’t use a password, and it’s normally used once a week when I’m doing the shopping run. (Julie hated the mask mandates, which coincided with a few medical adventures for me, so I got the job and the masks. Tradition set.)

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