Microwaves only need two dials

I had woken up before my friend and in front of his microwave I stood. The left-over pizza had been successfully inserted. I was staring at the array of buttons struggling to discern the button that would make it heat. After a while, I started just pressing buttons at random to no avail. The pizza was eaten cold.

I think modern microwaves are too complicated. It seems that many people resort to a tactic known as the ‘30 second mash’. This involves pressing the button that adds 30 seconds to the timer repeatably until the desired time is reached, as that’s the only way they know to use the thing.

I’m not sure how a ‘30 second masher’ would defrost anything. All I can think of is a game of manual pulse width modulation where they alternate between heating and cooling cycles, to not cook the outside.

In all seriousness, how many people use the food weight settings? I have never weighed anything, to then program the specifications into the microwave, through a complicated series of steps.

The best solution, two dials. At a glance you can see your power setting and remaining time. It’s easy to set to the required time and power, you can even make adjustments on the fly. Affordance is an important quality; physical items shouldn’t throw it away in favor of software that can only mimic it.

Products should make it easy to use the core functionality. The shouldn’t just inject technology because it exists and hope that it improves the user experience. This over injection seems to be the trend at the moment, in many products and markets. I’m saying this as a software developer.

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

Ian, Jurassic Park

You see the complication (that mainly software introduces) everywhere: cars, websites, Chrome, even going to the Post Office (it took me ages to work out how to post a parcel with an automatic machine). Occasionally we need to zoom out, consider the Pareto principle and make that core functionality easy to use.

If you do this, I may buy your microwave.