Interaction Design – Toilet Sign – A Study

Bathroom door sign design a user view study
I came across the above picture on Science Dump which made me think – Will this really work on people?
To know the answer I put the question to the wonderful people of – Put Me In Touch – a Facebook group for asking anything and everything.

Here is a screenshot of the question that was put to them.
Interactive Design Usecase Study
I received an overwhelming response. 262 people commented on the post. The responses varied from logical to non-sense! Here is a rundown of the metric that I derived out of it.


Interactive Design Toilet Sign Design Usecase Study Result
42% correctly identified it as restrooms
32% just made the connection till men/women.
20% were completely off the mark by guessing it to be doors for gay/straight, single/couple, right/left handed(door knob position) people, trial room, bedroom etc.
6% wondered about the idea’s feasibility

XX-XY Symbol Impact

Interaction Design Toilet Sign Study result
Of all responses made, 74% could reazile that the symbols were chromosome code for men and women. But 1 person who made the connection deduced XX to be men and XY to be women 🙂

Analyzing Responses

A number of people were worried about the placement of door knobs. This led to people obsessing about right-left handed operation.
It looks to me as if there is a wall separating the doors. So it makes perfect sense to keep the door handles on opposite sides,
Toilet Sign Design Door Knob Logic
How people connected the signs to gay/straight, single/couple and gender specific trial/bed/kid/change room beats me!

Will it work?

A lot of concerns were raised about the feasibility of the idea for general public. Yes, I understand the risks involved with general public. But on a targeted audience it will definitely work – as is evident from the responses.
It was mentioned that kids will find it difficult to identify which is which. I must confess that I completely overlooked that aspect!