Doorbell UX

I live in Flat 1 of 3 in a house that used to be one big house. Where do you think my flat is? At the top of the house? Like, 1, 2, 3 down to the ground? Or at the bottom? 1, 2, 3 up, like the floors of a building. But then in the UK, the ground is Ground Floor, not Floor 1. Add to this that at street level my flat is actually slightly sub-street level, like a basement, but then you have to walk up steps, to slightly above street level, to get to the, what, Ground Floor? 1st Floor? Basement and 1st Floor? So, there is no Ground Floor? Confused? So seem to be the delivery people, who we help even less by not clearly labelling our doorbells.

While I’m overcomplicating it here, and being slightly facetious, I am genuinely intrigued by the interaction with our unlabelled doorbells, so much so that I’ve deliberately never fixed the labelling. I like seeing how people interpret them. Mostly they get it right, ‘the bottom bell must be Flat 1, under the rest, like each floor, stacked on top of each other’. But then there are those people who look at me blankly after ringing my bell, when clearly expecting to see someone from Flat 3.

It’s a stilly and unhelpful game, but I was reminded of it this weekend when encountering some cutely labeled bells. Before I show the labelling, here they are with it Photoshopped out:

Be honest now, if you encountered these when wishing to contact Flat 2. Which would you push? And how confident would you be? Maybe whoever installed them saw it more like a list, starting from the top, 1, 2, rather than like a physical representation of the building. Unlikely, but without the labelling you have to wonder.

OK, here’s the bottom bell label:

Firstly, how nice is the hand drawn type! Human and friendly even though full caps. Super helpful and clear. Flat 1 or Ground, no one would wonder which bell is which now. Would they? Does Flat 2 still need a label? Is it too minimal to only label one and allow people to work out the other?

Flat 2 thought it was, but seemingly couldn’t quite commit to the same level of clarity:

Love it. Like a footnote.