Microwave button panels are all pretty much the same: you type in how long you want the food to be heated for (in the order that the numbers will be displayed on the display), and maybe adjust how strong it’ll be heated (high, medium, defrost, etc.). I’m curious as to what other button-panel-formats are possible and which have actually been tried in the past. Here a few possibilities (and actualities).
The current popular schema lets the microwaver type in, digit by digit, how long they want the food heated, and the order they enter the digits is the order they’ll be displayed. This at least is a good one-to-one mapping of the order of digits (from temporal into visual). And if you want your food cooked for exactly 2 minutes and 39 seconds, it’s gonna cook it for 2 minutes and 39 seconds. The issue here is that the user’s input options are overprecise. There aren’t any cases where 1-second precision is useful.
Another popular one is where the user sets the time with a timer-like dial. Those are cool, since they’re so straightforward, but often the dial is imprecise on an order of 30+ seconds.
My proposal: a microwave button panel with just a “+ 1 min” button and a “+ 15 sec” button instead of all ten digits. The user can round their heating time to the closest 15 seconds without deliberating over which of the 10 digits to press. The number of times you hit the keypad is proportional to how long your food will be cooked for, requiring less conscious thought to use the machine.