Putting User Experience First In Washroom Design
User experience has a large part to play in the overall perception of a product or service. A well-thought-out user journey results in a comfortable and easy encounter that goes almost unnoticed. While an experience that is a struggle filled with lots of pain-points sticks in our memory for all the wrong reasons.
The user experience of the washroom is no exception. In a commercial office environment, the washroom offers an opportunity to re-emphasise your high quality, luxury brand values to clients and employees. Luxury is found in well-crafted detail, and washrooms that don’t meet those expectations create a disconnect between your brand values (what you say you are) and your user experience (what you really are).
As both a communal and private space, washrooms offer a challenge to designers. How do we create a space that is user-friendly, offering comfort and ease, while maintaining practicality and function? It’s all in the detail…
Common useability challenges in office washrooms.
We’ve identified several common challenges that threaten good user experience in the washroom environment:
Fall to close doors
Washroom doors that fall to close give a perfect flush fronted look and superior feel. But this creates a usability issue, as it is not easy or quick to identify vacant or engaged cubicles.
Our Movana Cubicle addresses this problem, with an LED occupancy light on a fall to close full-height door. Making it clear to see which cubicles are available to use.
Shape of the room
When the entirety of the room is out of sight, it can be difficult to see if there are any vacant cubicles and a line can form quite quickly and unnecessarily. Great design takes the room shape into consideration to understand and assist the user journey throughout.
Another common useability issue is hidden or difficult controls for flushing the toilet. Some sensors are too sensitive, and some may need a few hand waves to activate the sensor.
Nielsen Norman Group explains, ‘If a user cannot easily flush the toilet, that design has indisputably failed.’ A flush that is simple and visible, on the duct panelling wall behind the toilet, can help eliminate this problem.
User experience inside the washroom cubicle can be enhanced with sound deadening, floor to ceiling partition walls, for a more private and comfortable space.