Stairs to Piano keys

Volkswagen has created an initiative in Sweden to make the mundane, and some may even perceive them as a difficult task, of climbing up stairs and making it enjoyable. At a train station in Stockholm, they observed people taking the escalator alternative as opposed to the stairs when moving to and from the station. In order to challenge and inspire travellers to use the stairs instead they transformed the stairs into piano keys. Each step of the stairs played a different note rising from low to high as they walked up the stairs.

As they observed the response over the next few days, the travellers started choosing the stairwell option instead of the escalator. Many did not even appear to acknowledge the usual efforts of climbing stairs as they traversed up and down over and over again. The ‘fun theory’ was created to gamify (apply the mechanics of game design to an activity) and thus create a healthy interest in climbing stairs when most people would avoid it. Although only a short term solution as interest can wane over time, the experiment was a success as 66% more people chose the stairs over the escalator. Such changes can be invaluable to inspiring healthy habits, educating children to look forward to climbing stairs and exercise.

See the video below: