An object Melanie loves, an on object Melanie hates.


One object I have slowly began to love more and more is the Magic Bullet. I use it mainly for making smoothies with fruit and ice. This device comes in 3 seperate parts; the cup, the blade, and the base. Each part has affordances that make it easy to determine how it is used. The clear plastic cup is obvious that it holds the items you would like blended, it also has a flat bottom, and a screw top indicating that it is a container. The blades have a corresponding screw top making it obvious that it fits on top of the cup. The base is much heavier, and has a power cord indicating that it will generate the power to spin the blade.

Physical Constraints on the device include the screw top cup only fitting with one side of the blade part. Furthermore once blade is attached to the cup, the entity only fits into the base in one way. There are small notches on the circumference of the cup that correspond with indents on the base. They only fit in one way and it is logical that the blades would be at the bottom of items being pureed.

After cup and blade are attached and set on the base, there is no indication of what happens next. This requires some thought, unless you have seen the commercial where it is demonstrated that the cup must be pressed down in order to start the process. A symbol such as an arrow on the side of the base, or possibly a word on the bottom of the cup would make this device more efficient for those who have never seen it before.

There is auditory feedback once cup is pushed down that the Magic Bullet is going to work. It starts as an aggressive grinding sound, to a gentler hum which helps in assessing how long food should be chopped.


Electric pencil sharpener. I find these difficult to use as they only work with certain types of pencils and most of the time they break the lead, or over-sharpen your pencil. The affordances of the electric pencil sharpener ¬†are it’s shape and placement of the hole that your pencil goes in. It is placed at the top which tells us where the pencil goes in, and underneath is a clear plastic case where the pencil shavings collect.

The physical constraints of this object include the hole size which is only big enough to fit a standard sized pencil, and the collector is shaped so that it can only fit in the device one way. It is also flat on the bottom which sits the device upwards, and makes it clear that there is only one way that it can be used.

The auditory feedback you receive is the sound of it sharpening your pencil. I believe this device could be made more efficient if there was an indication of when your pencil has been sharpened to a perfect point, such as a light illuminating or the machine automatically coming to a stop to avoid breakage of the pencil lead.

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