Physical Interface Design

September 1, 2012

I don’t cook every day. But when I do, I enjoy it and I especially like to make oven-dishes (they give me time to clean up and wind down while the stuff is simmering away in the oven). Today I made two small one-person chicken-leek pies and several things struck me about my oven that one would categorize under GUI flaws were my oven to be software. I’ve noticed these things about most ovens/stoves I’ve ever owned so it seems to be pretty systemic.

  1. Why is the light inside the oven exactly the kind of colour that makes everything look done? Why doesn’t it have a —say— daylight spectrum so my food actually looks like its supposed to look?
  2. Why is there only one light inside the oven? It’s very easy to cast shadows onto food if you use more than one level now.
  3. Why is the glass front covered in a fine grid of black dots? If I want to see inside my oven I have to move my head like a chicken on crack just to stop my eyes from auto-focusing on the pattern.
  4. The metal grid that covers the gas-burners is made up of two pieces. They too big to fit into the sink so I have to wash them in the shower. Why couldn’t they have made it four pieces?
  5. Why are there so many narrow creases near the bit where grease tends to spatter?
  6. Why do the gas-burners whistle at certain settings?
  7. Why is the smallest burner on the lowest setting still too strong to let creamy sauces simmer?

While living in Toulouse and Turku I’ve had electric stoves which are typically not plagued by 4, 6 & 7. I could never get used to electric stoves though, just not responsive enough.

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