A Coffee Maker’s Usability Test

Test preparation

Moderator scripts, participants, Mr.Coffee FTX41-NP, camera and notebooks

Brainstorming before the test

Content of the test

Our team had a usability test of the coffee maker Mr. Coffee FTX41-NP. Three participants who had never used a coffee machine volunteered to test the machine.

In this test, each participant had 3 basic tasks of using a coffee maker and each task will be recorded in 3 types of data.

Here is the link to slides with specific data:


During the test, each one was asked to set up the coffee maker, make 2 cups coffee and pour out 1 cup of coffee. At the same time, team members in turns acted as moderator, note taker and cameraman.

Objective of the test

Although three tasks (setting up, making coffee and pouring out) were basic daily missions, it is significant to improve several shortcomings of the machine in order to attract the increasing number of novices to use it more readily.

Improvements for the coffee maker

After the test, as we reviewed the video and data, we found the starting button confused every participant. Because there is no conspicuous sign or instruction on the machine which can directly lead users to start brewing coffee. For example, user Kyle spent a long time in spinning the round button, but it did not work for him. After he had tried every single button, he finally found the right one.

Kyle is trying to start the machine

So one of the improvements for this model of coffee maker is to set a more approachable and concise users’ interface, including an obvious sign for “start” and green lights or beep reminder once it starts.

User Spencer’s satisfied with his coffee

What I like about this test

The test is not time-consuming, as a normal person is able to finish in about five minutes. Although the tasks were simple, they reflects the most common problems with a coffee maker.

In addition, in a cooperative aspect, including participants and test makers, everyone has experienced the real usability test and has learned how to succeed in communicating with each other in a certain task.

Here is the link to our video:


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