Commercial bathroom

Unusable toilet-paper dispensers, difficult flushing controls and poor stall-status visibility can all affect the user experience in a public bathroom, according to an article from Nielsen Norman Group. In fact, the three main reasons behind inordinate wait times for bathroom stalls are all related to user experience:

• Difficult-to-use toilet tissue dispensers. To minimize stocking frequencies, many facilities will feature high-capacity tissue rolls/dispensers in the stalls. Occupants often find these offerings difficult to use.

For example, when tissue rolls are new, they are easy to reach, but their weight can make it challenging to pull sufficient quantities from the single-ply paper. When the roll gets low (closer to the core), the dispenser hinders users from reaching the paper altogether.

• Hidden or difficult controls for flushing. Many facilities have water-conserving and auto-flushing toilets that improve sanitation, but only if they are functioning and used properly. If too sensitive, they will flush every time someone moves, which wastes water. If they aren't sensitive enough, they won't flush at all, leaving a mess.

• Poor communication of the stalls’ status. Most public restrooms do not have attendants Without them, people may stand in line and wait for stalls even when most of them are vacant.

Using a visual indicator of the stalls' status can save time. The visual indicator could be:
• A weighted stall doors that swing open by default
• A flag on top the doors that falls outward when the stall is vacant, and falls inward when the stall is occupied
• A lock that changes color when the door is locked
• A digital door that changes color when it is locked

For more information on restroom design and appropriate signage, click here.