Washing Machine for Men

Redefining washing machine user interface

Peter Fabor
Feb 9, 2014 · 4 min read

I’ve been living in 6 different places for last 2 years. Everywhere I’ve had to use a washing machine and it’s been a pain! I was curious, so I started to ask my friends if they had a similar problem. They did. And I realized that most of my friends used only 1 type of washing program all the time.

But perhaps the problem resided only in me and my friends, so I started to google it. I came across a research from Great Britain, the main result of which was that:

“58 % of British men can’t use a washing machine properly because they find the household appliance confusing.”

We are living in the age of self-driving cars, yet more than half of the men doesn’t know how to use washing machine?

My own research

I decided to visit the nearest store with electronics. They had about 50 different types. I explained to the shop assistant, that I’d always had problems with user interfaces of washing machines and I wanted to buy something really, really simple. She didn’t understand me well. Therefore I had to tell her I was a total idiot, looking for a “washing machine for total idiots”.

She finally understood and showed me this type:

Yes, the simplest type offers 15 special washing programs….

Still, I was sure, that among 50 washing machines I could find something suitable. I was wrong. Most of the washing machines provided, for instance, the option to set the temperature and number of rotations per minute. This means no problem for those who know which values to put in — but it’s definitely a problem for me.

I’m sure these fancy symbols were created during some hard party of KOENIC product designers. Because nobody else can understand them.

On the other hand, Bosh has probably a strong marketing department. I like buzzwords such as “Turbo Eco Perfect” or “Skin care”. The problem is I don’t understand them. And perhaps I don’t even need them.

“Hi mom!”

If I ever had a problem with a washing machine, I usually called my mom. She always asked me the same questions:

  1. “Is it very dirty? Do you have any towels there? Or just towels?”
  2. “Is there something very soft?”

Then, based on the washing machine type, she explained what temperature I should adjust, etc.

Now imagine, that your washing machine talks with you as your mom does. I tried to simplify classic user interface, which is similar for every single washing machine and this is the result:

Yes, just 3 buttons and the detergent entry . While washing, you can see the blue flashing LED light.

Imagine that the whole user interface is one single sticker = super easy for language localizations.

I always wash my clothes at 40 °C with 600 rotations per minute. White with black, T-shirts, underwear, towels, everything. And I’ve never had a problem. I understand, that in some cases someone needs some special washing program. But I don’t. I think many people neither.

BOSH, Philco, Whirpool, Samsung, AEG, Gorenje, please, create a washing machine for men. Thanks.

Continue in reading: Hack your own washing machine… with stickers

EDIT: This post was already translated to Italian, Russian and French. Thank you guys!

    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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