Idea #3: Rate this Toilet

November 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm 2 comments

A panel on the wall in the toilet facility so that those visiting could rate the facility in situ.

This information could feed back into a web-based toilet search engine.

It could also be used for rapid response by the toilet provider, spotting any downward trends in customer satisfaction.

Would this work?

Is the implementation to complex?

Are smartphone applications ‘enough’?

A low-tech solution could work as well – pressing a physical button to rate the system with a mechanical counting system.

Or do you think any rating system is too susceptible to manipulation – would mischievous people input fake results? Would toilet providers manipulate the system? Would cleaners fear that it would reflect back on them?

Vote now! (and more importantly, feel free to leave your comments explaining your decision!)


Entry filed under: Ideas!, Information Design. Tags: , , .

Idea #2: Unisex Toilets … the Mayor of London

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Adrian Short  |  January 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    This idea is worth developing. If you’re trying to improve the user experience you need to understand it. Direct feedback is one way to do that.

    But first, there are many things that could be monitored and evaluated that we know will have an impact on the UX. Footfall and incident reports are often already logged (and need to be accessible for decision makers) but there’s the possibility to constantly log temperature, humidity and a range of other environmental data. Look for correlations.

    Some supermarkets now have good customer feedback on their point of sale terminals. You get asked one question per visit with a simple yes or no answer. This is much easier data to evaluate than an open-ended five point rating. In the supermarket you get questions like, “Was the store neat and tidy?” and “Were the staff polite and helpful?” Capturing this kind of feedback at the time of use is likely to be useful.

    Now mix in comments and complaints from users that feel strongly enough on an issue that they want to directly contact the operators. Solicit this kind of feedback by phone, text message, email, web form, whatever may be appropriate. A simple URL, QR Code and soon, RFID tag would provide direct access to a web feedback form for those with suitable phones.

    Finally–and this is a long shot–are people talking about the loo online? Can you efficiently capture and evaluate these comments? We could do this haphazardly and informally, but a better approach might be to give every loo its own web page with a permalink and enable trackbacks/pingbacks. The easiest way to do this is with Disqus. Either leave a comment on the page directly, or reference it elsewhere.

  • 2. Gail Knight  |  January 6, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Thanks Adrian, that’s a lot of useful suggestions.

    I hadn’t much thought about other data correlations other than on a national level (e.g. number of facilities v. age of population); never at local level (number of users vs was it raining?). I will now. Shopping Centres might put more effort in, but I don’t know if local authorities do – perhaps noting increased use at Christmas and therefore increasing opening hours.

    I see your point about the rating – the justification is that ‘yes/no’ answers don’t give room for ‘maybe’ or ‘a bit’, but your right that a more specific and changing question is easier to answer with a yes/no, and more engaging as it encourages people to answer on each visit, not just once.

    Either way, comments in addition to ratings make the information much more interesting (as they do this blog). Councils could definitely get more immediate and useful feedback from users if they invited them to comment through simple means – which could actually help the council to maintain facilities when they can no longer afford full time attendants.

    Online comments: despite complaints about low numbers of public toilets, I suspect that there are far more toilets than there is online chatter about public toilets.

    I know from personal experience that everyone has something to say about public toilets (“What do you do?” “I research public toilets.” “Oh!… ….you know, there’s this one…”) but very few (other than ‘extreme’ users) volunteer this information.

    But it was easy to… if they could text it from the facility… hmm, I bet they would.

    You’ve given me lots more work to do! Thanks again.


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