Hack your washing machine with stickers

Peter Fabor
Mar 29, 2014 · 4 min read

Before I published the post “Washing machine for men” I didn't expect it could have 60.000 readings and thousands of mentions on social networks. It was an honor for me to find my post in the TOP 100 most read stories of February in Medium.

Concept of the “Washing machine for men”

That's nice, but I don't see the “hero company” trying to resolve the problem of confusing user interface of my washing machine.

I have to do it by myself

I founded the coliving and coworking space in the Canary Islands called The Surf Office. People are coming for few weeks, they work, they surf and yes, sometimes they need to use a washing machine. This one:

It's one of the simplest models I've ever seen, but still: 14 options for washing in Spanish could be challenging. But everyone has my phone number and... you know the rest. Believe me or not, I prefer surfing waves to instructing people how to use the washing machine.

I drew the user interface to large piece of paper and then I added my comments (instructions),

I would like to thank these guys for the feedback, inspiration and help: David, Carlos, Christian, José, Fernando and Hana.

then I designed these instructions as stickers,

which I pasted on the washing machine. Here is the result:

Clear instructions in 5 simple steps.

1. step


2. step

How much is 1 cup?

This cup you find in the detergent box which is near the washing machine:

3. step

There are 14 washing programs but you basically need only one.

4. step

Push the button and go to surf.

5. step (optional)

I almost always forget about the laundry and after the quick search on Twitter I realized, that I'm not the only one.

QR code which creates the appointment in your mobile calendar, NFC chip... There were many ideas for notifications but probably the quickest and simplest option is just advise you to set an alarm manually in your phone (OMG, it works with any platform!).

However, I prefer iOS Reminders, as I can customize the message.

Robin from Norway was the first guest in The Surf Office who used this “new” washing machine. Here is what he texted me after:

Washing machine should have 2 steps

Many questions came to my mind during designing these stickers.

I don’t have to fill printer with the paper and ink before EVERY printing, so why I have to add detergent every single time before the laundry?

In that moment I realized, that my previous concept was too complicated and the washing machine should have only 2 steps:

  1. Put your clothes inside
  2. Push the button (and start washing)

Imagine that the Push button means last or default washing program, but you still have dozens of other options. Simplicity with complexity in the same UI.

I’m @faborio on Twitter.

    Peter Fabor

    Written by

    Founder of @surfoffice, organiser of productive team retreats. Prev: lead designer at @avast_antivirus. I'm @faborio on Twitter.

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