This product was designed to allow washing and drying of clothes in one machine. A user who is familiar with its functionality can take advantage of 22 different programs. If used appropriately, both washing and drying can (but does not have to) be done in one cycle only.
· I tried to take advantage of its most advertised feature – “wash and dry in one cycle only”.
· I expected to put my laundry into the machine, set the
program to “wash and dry”, and come back to clean
and most importantly, dry clothes.
· After a specific time period, I returned to the washer/dryer and found out that my clothes were washed but not dried.
Eliska Scudder, CSCI 380, Dr. Manaris.
I certify that this submission is entirely my own work.
The design of the interface for this product failed to follow most of the Norman`s principles. The most evident is visibility. There is an excess visibility of various buttons and controls, which is intimidating, but at the same time, there is a lack of visibility of labels, such as “controls for washing, controls for drying”. Secondly, some of the controls look like push buttons, when in reality they afford both pushing and dialing. Thirdly, it is difficult to identify or predict just by looking at the product that this machine can do both washing and drying (cultural constraint & conceptual model). As already mentioned, it may be due to the lack of labels that would guide the user in the right direction. Lastly, I observed that the machine does not give the user much feedback as to what it is doing. One can tell that the machine is in the process of washing only the first couple of minutes until the water is turned off. However, one cannot tell that the machine is programmed to both wash and dry. Therefore, if the user does not push the right buttons like in my case, he or she will never know until the machine has come to a complete stop.
A combination of a washer and a dryer in one is a very practical idea if it is designed in a user-friendly manner. Unfortunately, many of these products are victims of having “multi-symbol controls” or “combinations of controls” that force the user to memorize a chain of steps in order to accomplish an easy task. Meanwhile, many of the built-in features are never taken advantage of due to the complexity of the interface. To make the interface clearer for the user I would separate the controls for “washing” and for “drying” and locate them on opposite ends of the machine. I would also advocate the design of controls with single functionality at the expense of having “22 programs”.