Testing the Usability of a New Appliance Design
One of Mad*Pow’s core competencies is performing usability studies. In most cases, we examine screen-based applications, including mobile apps, web sites, customer service portals, and more. But when a leading manufacturer of consumer appliances approached us to help them evaluate a new oven design, our User Experience Research team knew we needed to take a slightly different approach.
- Researched a physical interface
- Leveraged the flexibility of our User Experience lab for the project
- Research insights powered new consumer product design
Mad*Pow’s extensive background in user research and affiliation with the International User Experience Partnership (IUXP) made us well suited to help this international consumer appliance manufacturer design its next oven. The client had a partially designed prototype and wanted to validate the usability of the design with target consumers.
Mad*Pow jumped at the opportunity, retrofitting our Boston User Experience lab with a 60-inch touch-screen TV that mimicked the oven’s controls. We invited a group of everyday consumers to interact with the prototype like it was a working oven. We observed their behavior during tasks such as adjusting the oven’s temperature, selecting a cooking method, and setting timers. By watching study participants’ behaviors and listening to how they explained their thought process, we gathered qualitative data on the usability of the oven’s design.
After we completed the consumer research, we analyzed the data to elicit actionable insights about the design and delivered these in a usability report to the client. The report identified areas of the design that aligned with how the participants expected it to work as well as potential areas for improvement. As is the case with all of our usability studies, Mad*Pow provided a prioritized list of actionable design recommendations that the client brought back to their design team for implementation.
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