Microwave Usability Test

Design Process

Usability test tasks design

This week we focused on usability test for a microwave. Our group started by brainstorming the tasks. We came up with setting the clock to 4:15 P.M., microwave a muffin at half power for 3 minutes, defrost by weight (1lb 12oz). The reason we picked these three is that we think they represent the setting of the microwave, a basic function, and a preset mode, which can show us how this microwave functions for most of the possible daily tasks. These three tasks also include the use of number pad and other buttons. Then, we decided the data to collect from each time to be the time of completion, difficulty level, and error rate. We calculated the error rate to be error clicks divided by minimum clicks need because if only looking at the error clicks, it would not be a valuable data. After we found three participants and wrote the script, we ran the test successfully.

Moderator explaining the tasks
Participant doing the task


This project, comparing to the other ones, is more focused on testing an existing or designed product. I think it is a very important process for improving products, in this case, the microwave, and it can also be repeated to better improve the design. The reason I liked this project is that it reflects how different it could be for the expected user experience and the actual user experience. I enjoyed interacting with users and ask for their opinion on the design to see why the design did not work perfectly for some functions.


This technique is suitable for many product designing processes. I can see applying this technique to any design industry or any product research and development. It can serve as one of the last procedures for product design. I think it would be helpful for designing small products like keys or designing a large shopping mall. I think it would be essential for designing any products, websites, architectures, etc. that will be directly used by a group of users. I think it would be extremely helpful if for a website with a lot of users so that they can collect improvement ideas from gathering user experience from usability tests. On the other hand, it might not be so helpful if it is going to be specifically used by certain people. For example, when a company system is designed for two administrative staff, it would be more direct to ask two administrative for improvement suggestions instead of finding participants to participate in the usability tests.

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