Re: [IxDA] All microwave interfaces are COMPLETELY different

17 May 2010 - 1:09pm
3 years ago
4 replies
627 reads
Hilary Bienstock
2009

Nix -

Interesting idea.  I like the idea of having a wheel with a center push button.  A few notes, however:

1. How do you set a power setting?  This really is important.  If I nuke my oatmeal on high for 2.5 minutes, it boils over and makes a mess.  If I nuke it on half power (power level 5) for 5 minutes, I get perfect oatmeal.

2. From my own experience, any microwave that requires multi-touch to operate is going to be a problem.  When I am in the kitchen, I am usually doing about 12 things at once, holding or stirring something in my other hand or have a potholder on, etc. -- I don't have the bandwidth to use two hands to set up the microwave!  Also, a multitouch interface would make it exponentially more difficult for someone with limited dexterity to use.  My grandmother would have a hell of a time figuring out how to use it -- and at this point in her life, the microwave is her most important kitchen appliance.

I think it's an interesting idea, though -- wonder what others have to say?  I had mentally toyed with the idea of two dials, one for power level and one for time, but that could be very confusing too -- which dial is which?

Hilary
 

Hilary User Experience
                   Hilary Bienstock, Principal



Comments

17 May 2010 - 8:41pm
Joshua Muskovitz
2008

The power setting can simply be another knob, using watts as an absolute measure, instead of the stupid percentage. It works for conventional ovens (in degrees as an absolute measure). Plus, it allows food manufacturers to standardize their instructions: 5 minutes @ 1000 watts.

There wouldn't be confusion between the dials, the units are completely different. You could also provide graphical hints. The wattage knob could have a cold-to-hot, blue-to-red gradient (well, maybe not blueSmile) with marks every 150 watts, while time could be marked with clear MM:SS notation in units of 15 or 30 seconds. The visual "50" in the heat scale would be difficult to parse visually as time.

A button in the middle of the knob for start would be sufficient, assuming that requiring the user to open the door to prematurely end the cycle is allowed. Otherwise, distinct start and stop buttons. Even so, you are left with two simple knobs and two buttons.

Is there a standard way to color start and stop that addresses color blindness?

18 May 2010 - 1:50am
DerrekRobertson
2010

Dude nice. Button with a dial. Color blindness? Different textures on
the knob vs the button, you may be color blind but not texture blind.

Derrek

On May 17, 2010, at 7:38 PM, Joshua Muskovitz wrote:

> The power setting can simply be another knob, using watts as an
> absolute measure, instead of the stupid percentage. It works for
> conventional ovens (in degrees as an absolute measure). Plus, it
> allows food manufacturers to standardize their instructions: 5
> minutes @ 1000 watts. > > There wouldn't be confusion between the dials, the units are
> completely different. You could also provide graphical hints. The
> wattage knob could have a cold-to-hot, blue-to-red gradient (well,
> maybe not blue) with marks every 150 watts, while time could be
> marked with clear MM:SS notation in units of 15 or 30 seconds. The
> visual "50" in the heat scale would be difficult to parse visually
> as time. > > A button in the middle of the knob for start would be sufficient,
> assuming that requiring the user to open the door to prematurely end
> the cycle is allowed. Otherwise, distinct start and stop buttons.
> Even so, you are left with two simple knobs and two buttons. > > Is there a standard way to color start and stop that addresses color
> blindness? > >

17 May 2010 - 9:41pm
nixkuroi
2010

Hilary,

I think, similar to the original iPod, you could handle it through submenus.  So instead of the top level being just presets, you have an option for presets and an option for power, pressing the center button to select.  As for Grandma,  you don't really need multiple hands, just a couple of fingers.  Index finger to push the button, middle to scroll.  Even my 70 year old grandmother has owned a second or third generation iPod or nano, so I think they'd get the click/scroll dynamic.  I mean, who hasn't bought their parent's or grandparents an iPod to try to get them to engage (and then regretted it) on the internet?

Besides, I think we know by now it takes a total of 10 seconds to understand the iPod interface, so even if Grandma hasn't been watching CSI where everybody and Jesus have an Apple product, she'll get the hang of it quickly.

Josh, I'm not sure you'd really need another knob (for the reasons stated above), but I definitely think that it's incredibly important for usability to make sure that color blindness is factored in.  Also, one benefit of the multi-touch monitor slider interface is that you could make it fairly easy to up the text size by thinning the ring and making the button bigger. :)

 

19 May 2010 - 11:30am
Erik Johnson
2009

As for Grandma,  you don't really need multiple hands, just a couple of fingers.  Index finger to push the button, middle to scroll.

Hmmm - I am with Hilary on this one.  Manual dexterity involved to one-handedly operate the wheel and center button at once at the height of most microwaves is a feat in itself.  I wouldn't want to do it, and I know my grandmother wouldn't either.

One thing I think would be great is a touch screen with an interface more like the current iPod UI.  In fact, as a backup the option to operate microwave, stove, oven, etc all from an in-hand device with the same touch screen UI.

even if Grandma hasn't been watching CSI where everybody and Jesus have an Apple product, she'll get the hang of it quickly.

Not sure Jesus would have an iPod.  But if he did, imagine what his contacts list would be like...Smile

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