microwaves should not have buttons.
look at this mess.
Popcorn? Pizza? Potato? Defrost? Reheat? Cook by Weight? i assume these modes use sensors and whatever to do all sorts of fancy shit like change the power level and cook time, but exactly how so? could Pizza mode and Potato mode possibly be that different? i have no idea and i’m not even going to figure it out.
why is there a timer on my microwave? microwaves are for cooking, not timing. when people want to set a timer, they don’t walk over to their microwave. a timer kind of makes sense on an oven or stove, but a microwave already operates on a timer no matter what (there’s no “stay on” mode on a microwave because it cooks so fast).
how the hell do you set the power level? every microwave forces you to press the buttons in a specific order. on some microwaves you can’t set the power level until after setting the time, and sometimes you can only do it before. and to actually set the power level, you might press a number, or you might press the Power Level button repeatedly. it’s always different and it’s always arbitrary. if only there were a way to set the power level that didn’t involve buttons.
and yes, i said microwaves should have no buttons, and that includes the Stop and Start buttons. even those are unnecessary. don’t believe me?
this is the true form of the microwave.
there are two dials. one sets the power level. the other sets the time. it couldn’t be any simpler.
it’s totally clear what the current power level is, and it’s totally clear how to change it. you can change it whenever you want, not just when the microwave says you can.
to set the time, you turn the Time dial and the microwave starts automatically, and the dial decreases to zero.
setting the time with a dial instead of a keypad makes more sense. why should 15 seconds mean the difference between 1-4-5 and 2-0-0? on a dial, it’s just turning a little further in the same direction. time is continuous, so by its very nature it fits better with an analog control.
more importantly, a dial does everything you would otherwise need a screen and over a dozen buttons to do, and it does so more intuitively. you don’t need a screen because the time is shown by the position of the dial. you don’t need ten numerical buttons. you don’t need a Start button because the microwave starts when you turn the dial. you don’t need a Stop button because it stops when you open the door. you don’t need a Resume button because it resumes when you close the door. you don’t need a Clear button because you just turn the dial to zero.
best, you don’t need that silly Add 30 Seconds or Add 1 Minute button, because you just turn the dial some more. you can turn it a little to add a little time, or you can turn it a lot to add a lot of time. wow, isn’t that genius? you can even decrease the time.
Start, Stop, Resume, Clear, and Add Time buttons are nothing but clumsy imitations of what a dial does intrinsically—by its very design. with a dial, you can do more things (decrease the time), with more precision (by a specific amount), with fewer controls (obviously), and with less thinking. all of these functions are just natural consequences of how a dial works.
the instant you look at an analog microwave, you already understand it better and can do more with it than you could ever do with a digital microwave.
that’s good design.