Product Usability Study: Coffee Machine

Paper Type:  Case study
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1784 Words
Date:  2022-05-09

The product identified for this study is the coffee machine. For several years, making a cup of coffee has been a simple task. Early in the days, coffee beans were placed in a pot; then hot water was added, a lid was then attached to infusion process to begin. Pots were well designed to brew coffee. There were typical designs which had features like flat bottom with the sharp pour spout for trapping grinds. There has been series of innovations, since the late 18th century. The first modern method for making coffee was through the coffee filter and pumping percolator. Many coffee machines have been developed nowadays, and it has become effortless to brew coffee. Some of the types of coffee machines include vacuum brewers, percolators, Moka pot, electric drip coffee makers, pour over coffee maker, French press, and single-serve coffeemaker. Coffee machines have made it easy to brew coffee. For this analysis, electric drip coffee percolator will be used due to its design features.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The discrete task involved here is coffee brewing. Coffee brewing is the process of turning the coffee beans to a beverage. Coffee is brewed first before drinking. In most cases, coffee is purchased while unprocessed, or when it is already roasted or ground. Coffee brewing involves series of steps as listed below:

  • Clean and rinse the coffee percolator with warm water
  • Roast the raw coffee beans
  • Ground the coffee beans
  • Fill the pot with fresh water
  • Add the ground coffee to the basket
  • Place the basket in the pot with the water pipe in the center
  • Put the basket lid on top, then the percolator lid

Plug in the percolator. Brewing starts immediately. Wait for five to seven minutes. Brewing will be done when the water inside stops boiling.

Unplug the Percolator

Pour the coffee carefully into a jug

While completing this task, the total time taken is 20minutes. That is, from the start to the end. The percolator alone took only 5 minutes to brew the coffee. One of the errors made was using cold water to mix the grounded coffee. Hot or warm water is preferred to cold water. Hot water is believed to make quality coffee.

Operating a percolator requires some skills. A percolator has several delicate parts that need to be handled with a lot of care. There are parts like the basket which holds the ground coffee, spreader cover which helps in even spreading of hot water over grounded coffee, pump stem which allows the heated water to flow to the top of the spreader and down to the basket. Cleaning the percolator involves disjointing the whole equipment, without skills, it would be difficult to use it. It, therefore, requires knowledge and skills when completing the task using the percolator.

Comparison of performance

A user interacting with a system or a machine performs some series of action that causes state transitions in the machine. To perform a given action, a user has to do what it takes to amount to a given state transition. A user must complete a given action before proceeding to the next stage of action. In this case, it is procedural; one step leads to another. The previous action performed by a user leads to the next stage of action. This section will be comparing the user task performance, of operating the coffee percolator. Task performance will be measured regarding task completion, error rate, advice or assistance provided and user satisfaction.

Beginning with task completion rate, for the first user, the task was completed in 20 minutes. The tasks were performed by cleaning the percolator to grinding the coffee beans, up to the final step. For the second user, a total of 40 minutes was taken to sufficiently obtain the coffee brew. The user also performed the tasks from the very first step to the last step. It is realized that the second user took 20 minutes more time to complete the coffee brewing task. This is twice the total time the first user took to perform the same task. Task completion rate always depends on the speed of the user. Since the machine was in the same state, for the first user and the second user, it can be deduced that the speed of the second user was very slow. The first user speed was averagely better.

Errors always occur as a result of interference or break down of the machine. The first user had minimal errors compared to the second user. The second user was not well conversant with the machine; therefore, he had to make several mistakes before learning how to operate the machine entirely. The second user had to consult on how to use the machine. He sought assistance, and as the first user, who is well conversant with the machine, I had to chip in and provide assistance. Instructions on how the percolator was to be cleaned were provided, and how the grounded coffee beans were mixed with hot water was also provided.

For the second user to use the machine without any hindrances, the first user had to be present and avail assistance. There are some simple instructions that one has to follow to produce quality coffee brew. The steps that are listed above are significant and skipping either will compromise on the quality of the brew. Testing on the qualities of the brew produced, the quality of the second user was a little lower than that of the first user. The possible reasons are since the second user was not well conversant with the percolator. The first user was verily satisfied with the machine because it brewed coffee at a faster speed compared to the traditional methods of coffee brewing. The second user was also satisfied with the machine and appreciated the machine. Concerning speed, the percolator is faster than most coffee extractors. Besides, the rate of breakdown of the machine is very low. It is not easy for the machine to break down because of its design features. The machine is also simple to use. It, therefore, meets the simplicity measure. It has very few parts, and the parts are easy to dismantle and later bring them together again.

The users were satisfied with the efficiency of the machine. The second user liked the machine, more so after learning how to operate it and brew coffee with it. It does not take hours to brew coffee for a family. It therefore shows, with the task performance, the users had different completion rate.

Factors affecting performance

In ensuring all the tasks were complete, specific factors affect performance. Performance is the completion of tasks against set rules or standards. Performance can be described as the fulfillment of an obligation following all the legalities set in place. Performance measure concentrates on the speed of performing a given task. Several factors affect performance. The elements are as follows: accuracy of the machine, speed of the machine, completeness and machine usability. Performance is also affected by human factors such as speed, an accuracy of the user and machine usability.

Performance is affected by the speed of both the machine and the user. The machine can be faster concerning operation but is the user is not quicker; then performance is not achieved. Speed is the rate at which a given task is completed within a measured time limit. Form this task to be complete; it requires approximately 20 minutes. The machine itself takes only 5 minutes to brew the coffee, meaning that the remaining time is consumed by the user.

Performance is also affected by machine usability. How interactive is the machine? A machine can be complicated to use, such that for any new user, he or she must first guide to operate the machine entirely. On the other hand, the user must also know how to operate the machine. Awareness is critical to measure. The speed at which coffee will be brewed depends on the usability of the machine and user acquaintance with the machine itself. The acquaintance has been an influential character in measuring the user performance. As was seen with the first and the second user, the first user was well acquainted with the percolator, more than the second user. The second user had to seek advice from the first user to obtain instructions on how to operate the percolator.

Accuracy is also another important aspect of measuring performance. The machine was very accurate, so the users too had to be accurate enough while using the machine. The accuracy of the users affected the performance of the tasks. Without accuracy, there will be many errors which will result in reduced performance. Accuracy also ensures task completion.

Universal design features

There are seven universal design principles. They include equitable use, flexibility in use, simplicity and intuitive use, perceptible information, error tolerance, low physical effort and size and space for approach and use. The purpose of these principles is to provide a procedural evaluation of how well a product satisfies these pimples of universal design. When a product has been designed for use, it must satisfy these given principles, for it to be user-friendly. For the percolator, it has met most of the universal designs.

Under fair use, this product can be similarly used by all potential users, regardless of the user's abilities. The percolator can be used by user-provided he or she has got some little knowledge of operating electric appliances. Users can freely use this product without feeling segregated due to their capabilities. Under flexibility in use, the percolator provides all potential users with numerous natural ways of using it effectively. It is easy to handle the percolator, and the user can use either the left or the right hand alone.

Besides, the product meets the intuitive and straightforward use principle to some extent. The product is simple and very straightforward, though for one to fully use it, he or she will require some instructions before operating the machine. This is the only design feature that should be modified to improve the product usability. The product meets the perceptible information principle because it can be used without hearing. Though one has to see for productive use. Under error tolerance, the product won't harm the user if in any case a mistake is made while using the product. The percolator can be used comfortably. No much strength or effort is required to use the product. Lastly, the percolator is easy for any person to see the essential elements it has. It is straightforward to obtain and see all the crucial elements of this product from any position.

Having looked at the design features and determined that the percolator meets almost all design principle, this product is a suitable machine for coffee extraction.

Cite this page

Product Usability Study: Coffee Machine. (2022, May 09). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism