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Subject:Microwave oven UI design
Time:02:45 pm
I use two microwave ovens on a regular basis. The user interfaces on them are very different. One seems incredibly logical to me, and the other is completely illogical. I'm throwing the two issues out for a vote, since my friends rule the world.
Poll #1634666 Microwave UI Design

Which button should be the most prominent?

Start
47(81.0%)
Stop
11(19.0%)

There's a "quick minute" button. Should the oven start when you press it, or should you have to hit "Quick Minute" then "Start"?

Start automatically
54(91.5%)
Quick Minute, then Start
5(8.5%)
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yayhappens
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-22 09:51 pm (UTC)
2nd question I picked QM + Start. I am so accustomed to confirming to execute a function (lol), I'd be irritated if it didn't.
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adbjupe
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-22 10:09 pm (UTC)
You made me walk to the micro wave. Mine is QM+Start.
Quick Minute is rarely used, Popcorn more often. There was one case who called for reducing the power level of the micro wave. All other cases just need time, start and sometimes stop.

Fan and light are used frequently, too.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-22 10:20 pm (UTC)
I use Quick Minute (Minute Plus on my home microwave) more frequently than anything else.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


terrencechan
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-23 05:30 pm (UTC)
Same. I'm also annoyed when quick start buttons (be they 15s, 30s, 1M, whatever) can't be pressed repeatedly to add time.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


jpmassar
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-22 10:19 pm (UTC)
Weird.

I think START and STOP should be equally prominent. No one else seems to agree (although without that as an option it's hard to be certain).
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tom_bayes
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-22 10:25 pm (UTC)
I would have voted that way (START/STOP equally prominent) if the option had been provided.

START/STOP are equally sized on my current microwave. I have to do Quick Cook/Start, unlike my previous microwave, and this irks me, although there's a Popcorn button that pops it with one push.

Edited at 2010-10-22 10:27 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


jpmassar
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-22 10:29 pm (UTC)
Mine has START and STOP/RESET equally sized. Not that I could have told you before I just went and looked.
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dmorr
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-22 10:27 pm (UTC)
Seems to me you hit start every time, and rarely hit stop, so it should be more convenient to hit start. This can be accomplished by size or placement, but size seems easier.
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gunga_galunga
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-22 11:10 pm (UTC)
And you don't have to hit stop, you just need to open the door.
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mjosephb
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-23 12:51 am (UTC)
I've always wondered about this? How fast is the off sensor? Am I slower zapping myself 0.05 seconds at a time?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


jcdill
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-23 02:27 am (UTC)
The off sensor is built into the latch that opens the door. It can't open the door fast enough to "zap" you from still-active microwaves.

I now use quick minute settings all the time, but previous microwaves didn't have that setting and I adapted just fine. The first time I encountered a quick minute setting it startled me as I was trying to enter the time (e.g. 100 for 1 minute) and it just started automatically as I pushed the 1. But I quickly figured out how it worked on that model and had no problems figuring out how to enter time if I wanted to set a different value (e.g. 145 for a minute 45 seconds) when needed (rarely).

My Microwave UI issues occur when I want to do something *other* than basic minute operations. I shouldn't have to reach for a user manual to do any of the following, the UI should make it obvious how to do it:

1) Set the clock
2) Set and start the timer
3) Stop the timer
4) Program partial power operation (e.g. 5 minutes at 60% power)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


whitebird
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-23 01:19 am (UTC)
My microwave has a power dial, a time dial, and a start button. The door release bar is also the stop mechanism.

Microwaves with more controls always confuse me because there's no real one true way of doing it.
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evwhore
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-23 05:38 pm (UTC)
Time dials are awful, and for reasons known only to microwave oven marketers seem to have made a comeback in the last couple years. I suppose the counterargument is that exact precision in cooking time is unimportant and +/- 15 seconds is probably ok, but still.
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mickdog
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-23 02:22 am (UTC)
I picked "Quick Minute, then Start" only because I might want to push it two or three times (to get two or three minutes) then start. I guess it could just start, but only if it let me add another quick minute during countdown.

Btw, I have a very old micro that requires at least 4 buttons pushed (not counting the number buttons) just to get something on 100% high. Very annoying, but I've had the microwave forever and it won't die!
(Reply) (Thread)


jcdill
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-23 02:32 am (UTC)
The most common UI in current models is that all the numbers are "quick minute" settings so if you want 4 minutes, just press 4. If you want to program a time longer than 9 minutes (or fractional minutes) you press a button like "time" before entering the time, then pressing start.

When there's a quick 30 second button usually you can just press it to add 30 seconds, and it adds 30 seconds even when the microwave is already in use, increasing whatever the current time is by 30 seconds. Press as many times as necessary to add time while it's cooking, if you didn't put in as much time as necessary when you started it. E.g. you put in 2 items but pressed the button for cooking just 1 item, then realize you need to add more time.

If you are looking for an excuse to buy a new microwave, try offering your old (working) one on freecycle, or just donating it to a thrift store. There are plenty of people who will appreciate an old microwave.
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mspurrmeow
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-23 02:45 am (UTC)
Quick-minute is about the only button that gets used on any microwave we own. Next to that, it would be "Stop".

Since you did not include QM on your first question, I answered "Stop". I would never punch in a time and use Start, so it seems irrelevant.

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dd_b
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-23 03:07 am (UTC)
Fascinating. I want "stop" because that's potentially an emergency action. I could in theory open the door to force a stop, but that lets whatever is in there out; plus I'd have to think of it in an emergency. So "stop" needs to be prominent.

"Start" is the most commonly used button on every microwave I've used -- every sequence ends in "start". So I'll know where it is, doesn't have to be prominent.

I've never seen a microwave that starts on "quick minute", but (while I might hate it in practice), it seems perfectly sensible and more convenient.
(Reply) (Thread)


jd_trouble
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-10-23 08:52 pm (UTC)
Can't we just have a BIG button labeled "Start/Stop"?
Why do we need more than one button to toggle between states? Seems inefficient to me.
(Reply) (Thread)

[icon] Microwave oven UI design - Patti
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