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Stupid Usability #48

Getting Heated with the Toaster Oven

Written By: High Monkey
Posted: 5/1/2014

From the mind of Chad Heinle, Senior Consultant at High Monkey:

As someone who has built computers, developed websites and managed to hook up the home theater system without much hassle, I like to think I'm fairly technically minded. Unfortunately for me, some stupid usability has caused me to curse at an fairly simple household appliance, the toaster oven.

Like most (or all - I have not done a formal review) toaster ovens, ours is multi-function. It can bake, broil, toast and warm. While I have no real idea what warm does, I have a good grasp on the remaining functions. There is a temperature setting which makes sense to me, a time setting which also makes sense, and a toast setting so I can determine how dark I want the toast.

Here's the problem: the toast setting is not a temperature setting per-se, it's a timer. While on the toast function, the oven has one heat setting. It is possible to keep the function on bake and turn the toast timer on and have the oven do... absolutely nothing. It is also possible to turn to the toast function and turn the timer on and have the oven do... absolutely nothing again.

There must have been enough confusion to cause this manufaturer to need two dials, but I have tried to "bake" my toast several times, as well as "toast" a pizza. In fact, I'm afraid to admit that despite all of my technical accomplishments, I've set something to cook only to come back after some time to see that nothing has happened whatsoever, leading to more than one late dinner.

The solution? One dial. Maybe add a chart at the bottom for time to toast darkness ratios, but one dial would at least allow me to bake my toast successfully.

Chad's Bio Coming Soon!

More About Virgil

Virgil Carroll is the owner and president of High Monkey – based in Minneapolis Minnesota. Virgil also wears the multiple ‘hats’ of Principle Human Solutions Architect and SharePoint Architect.

Virgil is one of those rare individuals who can dive deep into technical topics while speaking clearly to the business owners of a project and never forgetting that the end user experience has the highest priority. He calls it using both sides of his brain. Virgil is passionate about leveraging technologies ‘out of the box’ as much as possible with a focus on the strategic use of content to create websites that deliver the right content to the right audience on the right device at the right time. Virgil brings high energy, an ironic wit, and a sense of grounded perspective whenever he speaks to an audience. Virgil regularly speaks at conferences and user groups throughout the United States and occasionally in Europe.

Posted: 5/1/2014 12:00:00 AM by Brian Haukos | with 0 comments