Archive for November, 2011
Local DirectGov, who are a central place that people can go to to search for local (government) services, have made a widget that allows you to ‘locate public toilets’ by typing in a postcode. In return it gives you a link to the council webpage for public toilets for the area that the postcode falls under.
Now, copy and pasting the html for that widget into my blog (post) doesn’t work (though I’m sure the widget does) which is a damn shame as I’m only writing this post as an excuse to try it out. However I don’t know html so beyond copy/paste there’s not much I can do about it.
Here’s a picture of it instead:
If you go to http://mycouncil.direct.gov.uk/index.html you can try the search for other council functions, or if you want to try adding ‘locate toilets’ or something else to your own site, you can try it yourself at http://innovate-apps.direct.gov.uk/widgets/localservices/
In any case, the toilet widget only works for postcodes in… London.
Local Directgov don’t have the links to all the council webpages for public toilets. They never asked the councils for them and the councils never provided them.
An article was published yesterday about a company who are installing games for men to play whilst at the urinal. The game is controlled by peeing.
I’m recoiling already.
Not at the concept. I just hate talking about urinals. I don’t know anything about them. There is no more mysterious public space to a woman than the men’s toilets, and vice-versa (although I have been in the men’s at the RCA once for research purposes and was aghast at how much cleaner they were. What on earth are you all complaining about?)
The BBC’s article about the pee-game is very thorough.
Entitled ‘Toilet gaming technology targets urinal boredom’..
(‘boredom’? Are people really bored by peeing? I’m very understanding of different views, but if you pee enough to be bored by it, you should probably see a doctor)
..the game “sits above the normal oval ceramic urinal bowl, opening up a whole new world of entertainment…The user is presented with three generous targets to aim for in the urinal: stickers in the unit that read “Start”, “Left” and “Right”.”
We learnt quickly in our research project that any new idea that we had to improve public toilets had already been done, somewhere, by someone, to various degrees of success, whether it was a crowd-sourced toilet app, a new toilet roll holder or a customer feedback system…
… thius is why our Inclusive Design Guide to Publicly Accessible Toilets (pdf) contains lots of real, one-off examples from the Toilets of Britain, with very few of our own design concepts. One of my favourites was at Walsall Art Gallery which solved the age-old ergonomic issue of how to design sinks for both children and adults by providing… A Step-Stool.
Although there’s something wrong with pretty much every public toilet, it’s not that hard to get it right from a product design perspective.
It’s basically the same as for a toilet in a home – a loo, a sink, paper, soap, bin and a lockable door.
Yet for every lovely example of a new design that does something right (Dyson Hand-Dryers are such a huge improvement..) there’s a new design that does something wrong.
I feel like a bit of a loser.
I’ve just been to a public exhibition about the Nine Elms regeneration project, a huge chunk of London between Battersea and Vauxhall that will have ‘an anticipated 16000 new homes and 25000 new jobs’, including the redeveloped Battersea Power Station.
So me turning up to ask developers who are between them essentially building a new town if they’ve thought much about the public toilets feels a bit like asking where the postboxes are going to be. Although that also sounds quite interesting…
So why did I go?
It would have been easier not to go. I’m not even working today. I think “a mix of professional and personal interests’ might be my official response, but really my motivation came down to two things: guilt and nosiness.
(Actually that can be applied to almost every event I go to..)