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!

2 thoughts on “Interaction Design – Toilet Sign – A Study

  1. Wonderful study you did! So it still could mess things up badly if these doors are installed in the public. Even though most educated people identify the male and female thing, they still are not in touch with the subject and might end up entering the wrong wash-room 😀
    I have a science website running and I have no shame in admitting that I too get confused sometimes.
    Installing this in a biology department of a university, or a bio lab, or any other place that has something to do with bio, would make sense, only. Anywhere else, things could get messed up.

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