The design of a stovetop is something we rarely think about. However, the placement of the burners and the controls can be designed to make it easier to intuitively understand how to control the stove. As shown by reaction time studies, this might make the difference between correctly cooking the meal and burning the food or worse. A standard stovetop might like like
The diagrams below illustrate four alternatives to the standard arrangement of knobs/burners on most stoves. Higher values indicate that users considered the arrangement easier to understand and use. (Please go to link above for more detailed information about the study.) The most preferred arrangements had controls with a spatial pattern matching those of the burners and a “natural” mapping from control to burner. The findings can be summarized by saying that some arrangements have a greater degree of spatial compatibility than other arrangements.