Microwave usability

Here’s a clip from a presentation we ran a couple of years ago to show how quickly user testing can detect fundamental design problems.

We asked people to use the microwave in the staff canteen to heat up some food for 1 minute and 40 seconds. A simple everyday task you might think – but no, almost no-one could do it due to confusing button layout, bad button labelling and vague feedback on the LCD.

It’s crazy – who would sign the order to produce thousands of these microwaves without submitting a prototype to some simple user testing first? Watch out for the classic line from one exasperated user: “I’ll have it cold!“.