The elevator front panel

I live with my lovely wife Jacinta in a nice duplex located at the third floor of an apartment block. We have bought it some years ago. The building has 4 floors. But surprisingly, when entering the elevator, you are faced with the following panel :

One could say it is just funny. But my opinion is that having a complete 10-digits pad and a 3-digits display, to only just move between floor 0 and 3, is plain stupid. Realize that 70% of the panel is completely useless !
If you look carefully, you can even see a dot key! Frankly, I have no idea what usage such a key may have in an elevator. Perhaps someone could desire to go to the floor 2.5 ? Earlier today, I made several trials. And fortunately, the elevator had silently rejected my request to visit hell when I typed -666.
More seriously, the reason why the architect took the decision to install such a panel, is far beyond my understanding. But there is a lesson to remember.

When designing a system, you do not have always the possibility to create yourself a dedicated user interface. Sometimes, you have no other choice but to apply an existing template. Should this happen, do not follow the famous proverb which says "He who can do more can do less". In term of user interface, this will lead you inevitably to a failure. As Patrick Smacchia explained recently in his excellent blog about NDepend, let "make the simple things simple (...)". Interface designers should always remember that very sentence.

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