I write about and review cutting edge tech products for a living, yet every time I pick up a new piece of hardware I always think about my toaster. Not because I’m obsessed with bread, however more that my toaster is designed for how people in fact utilize gizmos. I utilize my toaster weekly, and it’s a consistent pointer of how other products are typically terribly designed.
Most toasters are pretty simple, you drop one, maybe two pieces of bread inside the top, pull a lever, and a few minutes later your toast comes flying out as if it just woke up from a dough-induced nightmare. The results can vary widely, from a perfectly golden slice to a visit from the fire department.
The designers have clearly thought about how humans actually want to toast bread, bagels, and crumpets (yes, it’s a weird British thing). There’s a setting for bagels that only turns on the inside sections of the heating elements so you don’t toast the outside. A frozen button also makes it easy to toast bread you’ve stored in the freezer. These are both useful additions, but the two buttons that really set it apart are “quick look” and “a bit more.” The quick look gradually lifts your toast or bagel to the top so you can check on its progress during the toasting phase. A bit more lowers it back down for more cooking time.
I always think of my toaster when I review products. This is how you design a product for humans: pic.twitter.com/F45Y4MdskU
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) August 26, 2020