CS 422 - Homework 1 - Toaster Oven


My Black&Decker Toast-R-Oven with EvenToast Technology

The toaster oven has three right-sided control dials with a large pulldown handle.
The top dial that controls the temperature. Temperatures are in Fahrenheit and Celsius. Also note the on/off light in the top-right corner.
The middle dial that controls the heating style.
The bottom dial that controls the toast setting and timer.
The pulldown handle that opens the bottom-mounted hinge door. Notice the curve and wider middle handle opening.

Common Uses


Rarer Uses


How to Heat a Frozen Pizza

I'm going to assume the user knows how to plug in the toaster and is of reasonable human intelligence. Hopefully, this isn't a pedantic exercise in defining every term and action.

  1. Open the toaster by pulling on the handle.
  2. Put the frozen pizza in the middle of the metal rack and close the door.
  3. Set the temperature dial to appropriate setting (usually 400F for a mid-tier frozen personal pizza).
  4. Set the heating dial to bake (the user probably wants a thoroughly warmed slice of pizza with no cold zones).
  5. Set the timer dial to appropriate time (about 22-25 minutes, 40 minutes if you're a barbarian).
  6. Walk away and come back when the timer "dings".
  7. Take out the pizza with oven mitts (unless if you hate your hands).
  8. Let the gooey, aromatic, mouth-watering pie of heaven cool (seriously, it's probably very hot).
  9. Eat the damn thing.
  10. Instant regret, you should have learned to cook and prepared an actual meal.

How Did the Toaster Possibly Help the User Figure It Out?


But Can Your Guest Figure It Out?

I'm pretty sure this toaster oven is found in a Geico commercial.


Possible Areas of Improvement

The broil settings of the top two dials are visually close to each other. It takes an extra moment to distinguish between the two.
From certain angles, the dial notches indicating the current settings are hard to find. Therefore, the user has to change her viewing perspective or fiddle around with the dials to locate the notches.
Are the toast settings independent of the timer? The text is ambiguous on whether or not the timer begins at 10 minutes. To add to the confusion, rotating the knob past 10, versus not doing so, does not affect the functionality of my toaster. The timing spring keeps the same time and the heating elements cycles correctly, regardless of prior action. Thererfore, I'm inclined to believe that the text is simply there, because it's a legacy item from a not-so-good predecessor.

Improvements to the Already-awesome Toast-R-Oven

I feel this is blamsphemous, because my toaster has been reliably toasting, baking, broiling, being-the-best-wingman-at-the-local-bar-ing, and looking good while in my possession. In 2+ years, I can't recall a time that I was frustrated with it. Nevertheless, here are some possible improvements.

Rotate the entire top knob labels counter-clockwise about 70 degrees. This should eliminate the close-proximity of the middle knob's labels and resulting confusion.
Another option is to remove the top knob's labels entirely and add a temperature readout on the dial itself. However, this would increase material costs noticeably.
Extend the notch signifier so that it is more readily understood. Preferably, the notch is engraved or embossed to give it greater contrast. Another idea is to add LED lights in the notch that only activate when the oven is on.
Erase this useless text from the face of the planet. Unless if some B&D engineer can explain otherwise.