Given their relative simplicity, domestic appliances such as vacuum
cleaners, kettles, dishwashers and washing machines tend to be more
difficult to use and understand than controls on more complex products
from other industries - such as the automotive and computing sectors.
For older consumers in particular, with a range of physical impairments,
this problem has been compounded by domestic appliance producers
ignoring the needs of an ageing population and relying on complex
instruction manuals (usually in small print) rather than the intrinsic
design of the product to communicate function.
The challenge is to explore ways in which product designers in
the domestic appliance industry can use aspects such as form, colour,
orientation, consistency and commonality of signs and symbols on
the product user interface to encourage intuitive use of the various
functions. Is there room for this within the product design process,
or is the only answer a complicated instruction manual?
Many domestic appliances such as vacuum cleaners have product functions
that are confusing to older users