For e-mail interface designers, putting the "Reply" button right next to the "Reply All" button seems like a good idea, until you accidentally send something to 20 people that you only meant for one person to read. And airplane interior designers have typically placed the "Flight Attendant" button next to the overhead light button, clearly differentiating each with an icon of either a human being or a light bulb, and further differentiating it with distinct colors, and yet people will still summon Darlene when they meant to light up their copy of Newsweek.
Is this a failure of design, or a failure of the end user? Boeing is calling it the former, and trumpeting their new flight attendant button simply because it's placed farther away from the light button. They cite this ridiculous piece of design research which I really hope isn't true:
...Extensive research [has] shown...that many passengers avoid turning on the reading light for fear of accidentally calling the flight attendant, Boeing Director of Differentiation Blake Emery told Reuters from Seattle.
Let me get this straight—"many passengers" look at the two buttons, cannot work out which is which, and sit in darkness because they are too afraid to grapple with this problem? Are the flight attendants on these flights shaped like lightbulbs while the lightbulbs are made of glass blown into the shape of bathroom icons?
Maybe the Russians have it right, with this outdated and somewhat sexist flight attendant button:
In any case, here's a button I'd really like to see. You'd press it to settle disputes over just whose armrest that is between you and the sprawling person next to you: