Lift accessibility

I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to the accessibility of web sites and don’t really get too tired explaining to people why a PDF of a scanned-in document is a no-no. I always assumed that the accessibility of web-sites was still in its relative infancy compared to other industry’s.

Take lifts (elevators!) for example, according to wikipedia:

The first reference to an elevator is in the works of the Roman architect Vitruvius, who reported that Archimedes built his first elevator, probably in 236 B.C.

Yes, you read that right, the lift was invented in 236 B.C.

Obviously lift technology has moved on somewhat and advances and additions have been made over the years since 236BC. Once such advancement is the addition of the audible announcement of the direction of travel, door status and floor position. The reason for this is for visually impaired lift users, who cannot see the electronic display indicating where and in which direction the lift is traveling.

In our building we’ve recently had some of our lifts replaced, it is these new lifts that I have noticed a change in the order of the announcements. They start by announcing the direction of travel and floor number before the lift doors have opened. The only people who can hear these announcements are the people already in the lift, surely they’re much more useful to the people who may be getting on the lift.

I’m probably being a bit picky but I would have thought lifts would come with a standard configuration which had been tested.

Have we learnt nothing in over 2000 years of lift design?