The Microwave Oven
Most of the American Kitchens do not have much space to keep the oven to bake the dishes occasionally as well as having a separate microwave oven to heat edibles more quickly and easily. Most of the time people prefer having a single Microwave oven to avoid accommodation problem. Microwave is essential electronic device today. Its use and sometimes overuse is common almost everywhere in the world. Microwave oven provides dielectric heating system using electromagnetic waves to do heating process more rapid. Besides, convention microwave oven, other type of microwave oven is called ‘convection microwave oven’ which is actually a combination of microwave and convection oven.
1. The Problem
There are two problems that I have faced while using microwaves:
1. Every microwave has a Control (circuit) panel to adjust amount of heat, duration of heating and several other options depending to its brand. However, almost all the microwave ovens that are available today have modified buttons. These buttons are flat and are covered with the sticker sort of thin plastic sheet.
After some time of the use, these buttons start doing malfunctioning like hardening on press, dislocate and even total failure. This is a very common problem that I found on a very small verbal interview with people. It is found in almost 70% of cases, according to my own research.
Obviously it is never recommended to repair an oven yourself (Consumer Product safety alert). This means you need fuel for the car, time and effort and money for repairing these buttons every time you face problem with. So, incase if the problem keep arriving there will be a time when you will start looking for an alternative solution.
2. Other problem with these buttons is that it seems these are corrosive and destroy the look of microwave on frequent use. So after three months microwave looks like as if it is a year old.
2. Design Principles
According to the problem which is stated above, there are at least two ‘good design principals’ violated which are discussed under sub headings 2.1 and 2.2.
2.1 A Good Conceptual Model
According Norman, A designer should provide the precise and explanatory conceptual model for the user, so that a user may detect consistency in the presentation of operations and results. It is utmost responsibility of the designer to give a logical and consistent image of the system (Norman, 1998, p.53). However, in this case, when you are particular about your chicken to be medium brown and suddenly ‘Stop button’ stops working, the plug is high enough and you can reach it without a chair, meanwhile the chicken is overdone, then it is definitely not a problem of ‘Intelligent design’.
By just looking at the buttons, even if they are corrosive, it can not be predicted that weather it will be working the next moment or not. It is just like trial method, a user will keep trying till finally it fails. Since, problem cannot be determined there is a little chance that the user will look for alternative action before problem may occur.
The more easier and practical solution to this problem is replacement of buttons by the company. It is much better to have push rubber buttons (round or square or any other shape and colors) for variety of reasons.
Push buttons doesn’t just look good, they are comfortable to use and less likely to fail.
These buttons pampers internal circuit of button therefore they provide better resistance to corrosion.
These buttons get fit in socket so, the likelihood of dislocation of button is almost impossible.
Rubber being an insulator provides safety against electricity and resistant against heat.
These buttons are cheap, easy to clean and print.
Norman, D.A. (1988). The Design of Everyday Things. MIT Press
Consumer Product safety alert. Retrieved from: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/5061.pdf Retrieve on: January 29, 2007.
From Director Division of Compliance (1975). Retrieved from: http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/radhlth/pdf/mwopol01.pdf Retrieve on: January 29, 2007