How to Fail at Coffee Machine Design

A Painful Lesson in UX

Zorroa
Zorroa
Jun 24 · 3 min read

Seemingly Solid Design

Our coffee machine has the typical features — with a few notable programming functions and the ability to adjust the strength of the brew. It’s also rather sleek looking plus the added function of a bean grinder. Other than that it’s pretty unremarkable and the four-step brewing process is simple to commit to memory:

  1. Put a new filter in the basket
  2. Select # cups of water you added — our machine grinds the beans “to order”
  3. Press start

Troubleshooting

Coffee machines should be easy to use, but poor design can cause unintended results. In our case, the result was coffee and grinds overflowing and flooding the kitchen. After evaluation, we came up with potential root causes but were able to eliminate each one after a single test.

A Single Unobvious Flaw

Leveling Up

It turns out our little coffee maker has over 500 negative, one-star reviews on Amazon.com. Most reviewers clearly lacked the resolve to troubleshoot their brewing failures, but those who persisted typically discovered the same design flaw as the Zorroa team. There’s a sense of relief knowing we weren’t alone in our coffee misadventures. We’ve since moved on to a new coffee machine and we’re happy to report our brewing fails are a thing of the past. Our team’s experience, however, is a heartfelt reminder of the difference user-centered design can make on a product’s success.

Zorroa

Transforming visual assets into business value.

Zorroa

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Zorroa

Transforming visual assets into business value

Zorroa

Zorroa

Transforming visual assets into business value.