Strategy & Research
We've all been there—befuddled by the many options the washing machine has to offer and envisioning the possible horrors that could arise with the push of a wrong button. It's a scenario that's generally resolved with a quick phone call to mom or a web search. Convinced that there had to be a better way, Peter Fabor, UX designer at Avast Antivirus and founder of The Surf Office, has come up with the straight-forward washing machine design we've all been Google searching for.
From digital to dials, there isn't anything easy about cleaning your clothes the "right way"
After a bit of personal research into the realm of washing machine confusion, Fabor found a fact from the Daily Mail that put his project into motion: "58% of British men can't use a washing machine properly because they find the household appliance confusing." Even more, the headline on the Daily Mail's coverage states that a quarter of British men can't even mange turning the machine on. I'm sure that statistic reaches much further than the British—I for one have been known to tie-die many white shirts while trying to wash them and I'm an American lady.
Some features on the "washing machine for idiots" that Fabor was recommended
With this in mind, Fabor took on a more exploratory method of research:
I decided to visit the nearest store with electronics. They had about 50 different types. I explained to the shop assistant, that I'd always had problems with user interfaces of washing machines and I wanted to buy something really, really simple. She didn't understand me well. Therefore I had to tell her I was a total idiot, looking for a "washing machine for total idiots." The simplest type offered 15 special washing programs.
Fabor's flowchart-like design steps users through a few easy questions, dumbing down a process that didn't need to be smart to begin with. If anything, we should be applauding our ability to memorize and adapt to the complicated process our current machines put us through. Think back to the first time you were face-to-face with the gaping apparatus—hands full and brain reeling, it took some time before your linens came out the way you'd happily daydreamed about at the appliance store (because that's where you go to buy those things, right?).
Fabor's simplified approach to getting clothes clean
As of now, this design is only a concept—but we'd love to see some appliance manufacturers follow Fabor's lead. Read more about his strategy in detail here.