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Microwave design solution

🎧 Listen to the audio guide while you scroll—

(1:22 minutes)
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👀 Prototype—

Usability Test.gif



🕵️‍♀️ Research

After an 8-minute chat with a user, I saw how microwaves are used in other homes and what could be improved on.

Microwaves are negatively associated with potential health concerns
Take up prime kitchen real estate
Have functions that go unused
Not all models are accessible by all users
Not intuitively user friendly
Aesthetically “meh”
Can be loud and audibly annoying

🗺️ Synthesis




Design constraints:
Design contraints.jpg
1

How Might We

create an illuminating microwave that is kind to the body and mind?
There are no rows in this table


To be kind,
is to be gentle, manageable, and calming.



💡 Inspiration


⌨️ Gentle buttons

The curved indent on the MX Keys by Logitech cradles the tip of the finger, the matte plastic is soft against the skin, and the springs have just enough load to feel satisfying when pressed.

MX Keys logi.png



👻 Manageable features


I watched my user interact with only
three
features: setting the time, pressing “start,” and opening the door.

Donald Norman warns of “creeping featurism” and I instantly associate microwaves with this design faux pas.

Design of Everyday Things.jpg



color.gif
🎨 Calming color palette
0
Hex code
Visual
Vote on the color
1
#b5c9d9
2
#CAD3E1
3
#D4DBE9
4
#D5E0EA
5
#c6e4ee
6
#d6ecf3
There are no rows in this table


✏️ Sketching

To visualize potential features, interactions, and product consistency, I collected items from my surroundings and put pen to paper.


Knobs.gif
Initial sketches.jpg

🤖 Prototype

Inspired by the work of Finn Juhl, I used watercolor as a way to incorporate color and depth in the prototype.


Sketch.jpg


🗯️ Usability test

To test how the prototype would function in real life, I taped the idea to a microwave and asked a user to walk me through how they would interact with the new interface.

Presenting how the product would be used—

Usability Test.gif


To create more intimate engagement, I positioned the top two buttons to encourage the user to rest their palm on the top/side of the microwave while pressing these buttons.

💡 The design is an invitation for the user to use the least effort possible, relax, and feel supported.


Prototype.png


💭 Reflection

The usability test showed the need to incorporate visuals to better communicate interaction outcomes:

❌ icon on the “cancel/clear” button
noun_open_1463380.png
,
noun_open_196558.png
, or
noun_open_3028981.png
icon on the “door release” button
.10, .20, .30+ on the outside edge of the dial
Text indicating the quick select time options OR prompt user to program middle buttons with most-used time preferences.

I would continue to test the communication efficacy of the icons to ensure that when the user looks at the microwave, they know exactly what will happen when they press this button or rotate that dial.

With more time, I would also continue to redesign the shell of the microwave to incorporate an aesthetic that signifies transparency and trust (exploring materials such as glass), and an interior that signifies novelty and joy at what’s inside.
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