Curated by Cillian Lyons
Toilets : What makes the difference in experience?
Sorry for the delay in getting this up. I was very glad that everyone was so passionate about a simple topic and how aptly it applies to UX. A toilet is such a simple everyday item and action that many of us take for granted but is inherent to the basics of user experience, and one of the areas where we may have seen some of the most innovation.
Everyone has a deep and personal experience with a toilet. Everyone has a story of a very bad toilet experience and people are more than willing to share their thoughts on where to find a great toilet.
Pain points & issues:
During the discussion we touched upon a number of pain points of toilets ranging from; location and proximity of a toilet (there is never one when you really need one), toilet paper and if there is any, if it has to be bought, or if it is cheap toilet paper, air dryers vs. paper towels, quality of soap, cleanliness, the smell, if it’s crowded.
We have seen multiple innovations and advancements in toilets. The implementation of sensors that control water usage, new improvements for hand drying, etc. However this can be a double edged sword that the technology can be too over whelming and then it actually becomes a nuisance.
User expectations is something worth noting. There is a behavioural mind set created behind different levels of expectations. People expect more from a shopping centre then they do from a hawker stall, and even more from a hotel. This also plays into a brand perception and a further expectation. People are willing to pay for a better experience but if a person pays there is a higher expectation.
Design for the bum:
The Japanese lead the way for the ultimate toilet experience. If you haven’t experienced a Japanese toilet or a ‘washlet’ then you really must. With an array of features including a bidet system for washing below, warmed seats, air deodorizing, automatic lids, music to relax to and cover some other noises, it sounds more like a spa than an everyday item. The Japanese toilet has become synonymous with a great toilet experience.
The Japanese toilet truly encompasses the spirit of UX not just designing for the user but designing for their bums. However like other innovations things can go too far. There is a ‘washlet’ now with over 38 functions.
- People remember a good toilet experience and are willing to make an additional effort the next time to re-experience it.
- In the case of the expectations this is also a brand position and how a toilet experience can have a direct impact on the brand.
- A toilet’s experience can shape and change the behaviour of people using it. If a toilet is clean and well maintained then people are more likely to treat it better, however on the other side if it is dirty and unkept then people are less likely to care.
- Fulfil the objectives and requirements and then go 1 step further to make it better, to give it an experience. Like the Japanese design for the bum!
As a side point of interest the World Toilet Organization was founded in 2001 by Singaporean Jack Simm ad world toilet day is on the 19th November.
If you have further thoughts that you’d like to express we’d love to hear them in the comments below.