One-time setup issues are kind of a special-case, and I'd agree that that can be some work if one were to try to do without the manual. But that's something that should only have to be done once (or when the battery gets pulled/discharged, and the like). Most products of any complexity are likely to have this issue. I liken it to setting up a Windows desktop -- everytime I install Windows I spend 2-3 minutes doing the relatively-obscure bits like changing my background to solid black, getting my quick-launch icons "the right size" and turning on filename extensions in Explorer. Ideally not something that I have to do more than once a year or so.
It is a huge problem, perhaps to your point with the unit you bought, for the product to send me down into the bowels of minutae-config-land when pressing or turning the most commonly-used knob. This is certainly unacceptable. With my last after-market unit, you had to press MENU and futz with the knob to get down in the config rat-hole, the analog of CTRL-ALT-DELETE.
If the knobs work the way you would expect them to 99.9% of the time (press on/off, turn for volume), I'm having trouble complaining when I really need to get to the other 1% and need to pull out the manual. In my case, this was when the battery did get pulled and I had to figure out how to key-in the anti-theft security code to get the stereo to do _anything_.
I'll definitely grant you that if under reasonable use patterns, if the unit doesn't meet the 99.9% standard, there's a problem. Obsessive-compulsive button-pushers (and children) are just SOL, because nothing is going to make them happy all the time.
Bullcrap -- this is a marketing problem pure and simple (as far as the HMI is concerned). Maybe you think that marketing walked into the meeting and said "I want an awesome conventional microwave" and engineering said "I can make that microwave with just one dial, watch!". Backslaps and cheers all around, then "Meeting adjourned, good work guys!".
I question the purchasing decision as much as the product implementation. It sounds that equal amounts of time were spent by both parties on each task -- not nearly enough.
Would you buy a car with all of the controls (one!) on the steering wheel? If not, why would you buy a microwave similarly designed? After all, their respective uses are probably within the same order of magnitude of complexity. Blaming the designer is all well and fine for its reliability, but I question the purchaser's lack of judgement for complaining about its interface shortcomings.
While a product designed by the same engineers with a more classic interface may have had the same reliability issues, I blame the purchaser for mentally checking-out before checking-out by not thinking for even a minute about the utility of what it was that they were buying. You bought the equivalent of a toaster and expected it to be a microwave. Did I hear you say that you trusted the salesperson -- and you're an engineer? Wow, wow, WOW...
Sure, shame on them for designing such a UI (and as it turns out, reliability) monstrosity, but you neglected to pop your brain out of Park before driving it home.
Perhaps this is a situation that you probably shouldn't have put yourself in in the first place. If you have warranty claim for the function of the device, wield it! You'll then have been lucky that the two mistakes will have cancelled each other out.
EXACTLY! By the way, do you know the real meaning of MBA?
Easy: More Brainless Ass#oles!
but, seriously, there is a certain dose of narcisism in the software engineers in charge of the simplest functions in the latest appliances too, that make them VERY prone to over-do themselves, which give results like the inoe dial microwave oven. And the lack of older, senior engineers to supervise the final product.
I wonder how many people actually tried using this microwave with its six-deep menu scheme before they bought it? I propably wouldn't have either. I'd have liked the one dial/one button design approach, thinking wow -- only two things to break on this baby! Using your microwave shouldn't be like trying to connect to AT&T tech support ("For Mandarin, press 19!" Thank you! Please enter the 45-digit serial number of your device NOW, or press 8 to let us guess your serial number! Thank you! For "Easy Listening" music while on hold, please press 1. For Oldies, press 2! ... For silence, press 26! I'm sorry, 14 is not a valid selection. Please start over from the beginning NOW! Thank you!)
..Well I guess I got lucky, in about 1986 I bought my first and only microwave...at Sears...a Kenmore...first of the newest hi-tech touch-pad deal...still works fine....although I did have to replace the light that turns on when you open the door...-bulb
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
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