I have a theory about escalators and those who use them. If you’ve ever been on, or near, and escalator with me you’ve probably heard this theory. And if you’ve been near one with me more than once you’ve probably heard the theory more than once.
I like to think that the inventor of the escalator had the best of intentions when he or she went about it. They imagined a world where people could get where they were going faster and was able to be more efficient. Same goes for those moving sidewalks in airports.
But then the end users got at the product, and the entire concept was flipped sideways.
Now escalators are used, at best, to be mini-vacations during the day. At worst they’re just another modern invention that is allowing us to be lazy and slowly putting us in an early grave.
Rather than continuing to walk once on the magical moving stairways, most pedestrians come to a grinding halt. Often travelling up slower than if they had just taken the stairs in the first place. And don’t get me started about taking the escalator down. That’s basically like admitting that gravity isn’t enough assistance for you.
Although this little origin story is likely completely fictitious, I seem to have learned a couple lessons from it, regardless.
First, while you may design, build, create or otherwise will into existence something, you will never really know how people will use it until it’s out in the world. I also learned this from Snap It. Apparently if you give a drunken person a button at about waist height, it is very tempting to try and kick it.
To those reading, please don’t kick my button. It really pushes my buttons.
The second lesson is that if you can create something that allows people to be as lazy as possible, then you likely have a winner on your hands.