Design Principle 4: Observe the User

This microwave in the photograph looks good. I am the not so proud owner of this oven. But ‘looking good’ is part of design. Otherwise people would not buy.

However, I take this as a badly designed product since I could not use it from the day I bought this. The trouble was that the microwave seemed to have a mind of its own. It simply refused to listen to my commands.

And why was that? The electronic touchpad command control centre got damaged thrice in its very first year, indicating a design defect.

Moisture somehow got into it and damaged it again and again. This was probably because this oven lives and works in an Indian Bengali kitchen in Kolkata having over 90% relative humidity for most part of the year and is surrounded by Bengali cusine of steamy spices.

So the poor designer overlooked the point. They simply didn’t care to observe as to how their great product is being used by the not to happy users and respond by modifying the design. The company was happy to send their service mechanics to replace the ‘touchpad’ control for a relatively small fee.

They think that they are doing a great job.

But I, the poor user, definitely think otherwise. By now I have atleast asked ten people who were taken in by the stunning silver ‘looks’ not to buy this and suffer.

So dear designers beware of this fatal mistake of not bothering to observing the user in action.

All that gliters is not gold!

23082009

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One Response to “Design Principle 4: Observe the User”

  1. Tarapada Pyne Says:

    Equally true to our case !

    We are also proud owner of Sumsung, Trio, CE1031 LFB, purchased two months back only. Within a week, side panel got bent possibly due overheating /thermal expansion – thanks to Sumsung design excellency and short 15/20 minutes demo in hurry by service engineer. Since then, our food processing at home has also taken significant changes. Of course, it was intended to provide me less oily food (I have high cholesterol level). Cooked dish with bengali flavour has vanished. Half items from this side, some time something from beloved new oven ! Due to pressure of teaching/guiding my son apearing 10th CBSE board this year, wife has no time to understand neither operation nor cooking techniques. 90 % of the time, it is used as food heater, which could have been possibly purchased at 1/10 th of this oven price !

    One is design deficiency, another is KM issue with user. It is big failure of the product ! Service at ease, operation at ease is the ultimate aim of design !

    Another day, I would share my experience with world reputed car maker Honda product (what problem I have faced recently in my Honda Civic VMT and what is Honda response on addressing the design failure !).

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