Bobby Smith

Bobby Smith

Experience Designer.

The User Experience of Washing Machines and Dishwashers

02 July, 2015

Front-loaded washing machine come with a window but the other washing appliance, dishwashers, don’t. Is there an explanation as to why we need to see our clothes while they’re getting cleaned and not our dishes?

The fun of it

In a washing machine the objects that are being washed move around. It’s a dynamic process, that is unpredictable and always unique. Watching the movement is fun, it indeed gives a sense of control to the user, even if it is not actually required. Quite a few people even find it relaxing to watch the washing machine. In a dishwasher the items don’t move. Making a window in the dishwasher would not expose anything interesting to watch at all. Given the working principle of a dishwasher (same water being reused as much as possible), watching this internal process might actually give you a bad appetite and convince you to hand wash the dishes. A dishwasher also does not fill the whole machine with water. It actually uses very little water.

The practicality of it

Electrolux Visi Diswasher
Electrolux Visi Diswasher
On the washing machine, the window prevents users from trying to open the door when the machine is filled with water. In addition, it might be useful to some people to actually see what is being washed. If I come home, and see that the washing machine is packed with white fabric, I know I can wear my favorite white shirt soon. Opening the door while this machine is filled with water would not result in water pouring out of the machine.

In the event of a stopped dishwasher (due to electrical fault or buggy software or something) the water in the device streams out of ordinary drains inside, and the water sprayers stop adding more water. If you were to open it after it had shorted out, you aren’t going to get soaked.

That’s not true of a front-load washing machine. If one of these is forcibly stopped at certain points in its cycle, then it remains full of damp clothes resting in soapy water. Opening one of these without knowing what’s inside would lead to a rather unpleasant surprise. The window helps you see what’s going on inside in the one case when you do need to interact with it mid-cycle: when it’s broken.

Another argument not to have a windows in the dish washer is the benefit of having a dish washer is that you can just put any dirty dish, cup or whatever straight into the machine, thus making the kitchen look more tidy. If you would have a window in the dishwasher you would be looking at dirty dishes again for 90% of the time.

On the other hand, dish washers with a window DO exist. Electrolux brought the Visi to the market after “market research”, but it appears to have been removed from their current product range.