Posts tagged “toilet”

How to flush?


Another toilet picture, dedicated to Gene, who I influenced with my healthy interest in toilet interactions.

From my hotel room in Paris last month. How do you flush this one? Turns out that it’s the middle silver panel. Although there’s little visual indication, the panel is hinged behind just enough that it can be pushed along the bottom. There are almost-invisible letters on the bottom right corner. The left and right panels do nothing, by the way.

At first I thought that circle-in-a-square was some flush button, but it’s a deodorant puck.

Previously here and here.

We’re not in Kansas anymore

Dan and I have already mentioned (here and here) our stay at Chateau Avalon (an “Experience Hotel” – quick and easy ways to see times and past and locations distant, all without leaving Kansas City). Now a bit more about what was horribly wrong with my room. Let’s assume that most people who stay there fall within their intended demographic (couples, local, looking for a quick getaway), and let’s set aside issues of personal taste.

I was in the Colorado Frontier room.
The bed is in the back, which is sort of another room.
That room is extremely tight around the bed; one can barely get by, and I found the best way to open and close the drapes was to stand on the bed itself. No dresser, but a fairly big closet. Confusing light switches, with no light source that was reachable from the bed itself. And a massive TV that loomed above the bed rather threateningly. The literature promised satellite TV so I looked to see how to get beyond the usual hotel 15 channels, eventually calling the front desk. Those are the channels, it seemed. HBO was the satellite channel. I expressed some confusion and they explained that it’s a satellite channel “around here.” Okay.

The room had completely useless workspace. I didn’t want a thematic chair to sit on for editing PowerPoint decks, transferring video, managing cameras and media and chargers and so on. I wanted something comfortable, and I wanted a big enough table to get my stuff on. The only other flat surface for wallet, keys, etc. was the bedside table (already covered with hotel crap and rather difficult to reach unless you throw yourself on the bed like a beached whale).

The bathing facilities were smack in the middle of the main part of the room, and quite far from the water closet portion of things. Do you want to invite a colleague into your room when your tub (and inevitable tubby paraphernalia) is front stage?

The whirlpool spa was also a shower. But it was quite deep, so to get out meant tentatively raising a foot rather high and over the edge. What’s on the outside? Narrow stone steps. Umm, right? I’m lucky I didn’t break my neck getting out of that thing. There was no place to put a towel and no safe way to get out. Very irksome. Part of the stone stairs went down only to the level of the porch floor while others went a few inches further to the level of the main floor.

My (least) favorite design failure. The bathroom was as wide as the door. The sink was to the right and the toilet was to the left. To reach the toilet, one must step into the bathroom and to the right, then inhale and push the door past. A person of girth would absolutely not be able to do it. I could not do it without the edge of the door dragging across me roughly.

There was a lot of energy put into the design choices, but it’s the most shallow form of appearance versus usable I’ve ever encountered. Perhaps the owner of the hotel should be forced to stay in each room and try getting things done, other than savoring luxuriant chocolate (or cranium-filling cinnamon rolls) and heavenly rose petals. Say, going to bed, getting up, washing, using the toilet, etc. Activities of daily living type of stuff…

Me go pee-pee (a non-PC childhood song)


It appears the user of this public toilet in China is able to gaze into the printed face of a woman while he does his bidness. Why, exactly? Sure, the whole idea is challenging to Western norms (and maybe even Chinese norms) which is part of the story, but that detail is particularly intriguing to me.

Charles (who passed this along) sez “I think it’s great design myself.”

Poop on toilets, please

Lilly posted (a different image of) this poster:

Originally uploaded by h0mee.

The URL in the poster redirects to their blog which, among other things, tells residents of the Mission in SF where they can the poster to put on their own street.

The poster is pretty dramatic, with an interesting do and don’t icon flow. Gives insight into the problems some communities are facing.

Asilomar Toilet

(This one is for Gene!)

It looks like a freakin’ teapot. You pull up to flush. And there’s no range of flush intensity available (say, based on how high you pull up or how long you hold it) that I could determine.

Cottonelle dumps

Spotted on BoingBoing is this special toilet paper just for kids. It’s printed with a puppy paw path that spans five sheets (and then begins again). It’s portion control for toilet paper, presumably there is a need to have kids learn how much to use? I’m a bit confused as to the actual need, and how this solves it. Wouldn’t the amount needed depend on what is being wiped? And who is being wiped?

I’d guess you’d want to teach kids to wipe until they are done – to pay attention to the bodily and other cues (visual?) to ensure that the hygiene need has been handled. Making it such an inflexible system doesn’t teach anyone anything!

And if you use a different amount than five sheets, ever, then the system breaks until you sync up back to sheet zero with the happy puppy. A training system that is intolerant of (highly likely) user error is not a good training system.

You must always use five and only five sheets. Regardless of what’s going on with your po-po! Cottonelle has forgotten that they work for us, not the other way around.

And their site includes this lovely FAQ (which is such as misnomer, since these are not likely to be frequently-asked-questions, but rather info they wish to convey) that suggests some product problems besides the obvious usability failures.

Why is my toilet paper printed on the inside? How do I fix this?

The good news is that this is an easy fix. The toilet paper isn’t actually printed on the inside. What’s happened is that the two plies have become separated, and the inside ply is wrapped around the outside of your roll (you’ll probably also notice that the perforations on the two plies don’t line up). To fix, first make sure your toilet paper is positioned so that it unrolls from the spindle with the sheets coming over the top. Next, steady the roll so it does not move in the spindle. Take the top ply (make sure you are only handling one ply) and unwrap it behind the roll. The print should now appear on the outside, as intended, and the bottom ply should now be longer that the top ply. Tear off the excess bottom plies (approximately 3) and you are ready to go.

and When I tear the toilet paper, the perforations on the two plies do not line up? How do I fix this? which offers the identical answer.

Now we’re taking on toilet paper maintenance tasks? Who the hell wants to fix their toilet paper? This is way too much work and this company hasn’t a clue about addressing real people’s needs.

Flush with Success

The America’s Best Restroom contest has selected five finalists.

Organizers do research about the businesses but don’t actually try out the chosen throne rooms before selecting five for the online poll. “We have nominations from all over the place. It would be too hard,” said Bensten.

And the nominees are:

  • All Seasons Bistro, East Lansing, MI.
  • Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, NJ
  • Hemenways, Providence, RI
  • Quad City International Airport, Moline, IL
  • Wendell’s Restaurant, Westerville, OH

More toilets

I hadn’t seen anything like this before, known as a dual-flush toilet. Nice interface; the oval flush button is divided in two; one button is twice the size of the other. You choose which flushing button to press based on what you’ve just done. Visually there’s a number one and a number two button. They could have had some awkward fun with color-coding, I suppose. If it’s yellow…etc.

Note: other pics from our trip to Banff are here

Herbeau Creations Dagobert Throne Toilet

Step into a world of luxury with the Herbeau Creations Dagobert Throne Toilet. Take your bathroom back a few years with this pull chain antique style toilet that perfectly accents a clawfoot bathtub in your vintage bathroom. The toilet comes with an ashtray, candle holder, and hand painted toilet bowl and plaque.

– Solid ash throne with 3 layers of polyurethane coating
– Pull chain flush with bell, ashtray in arm, and candle included
– “Le Bon Roi Dagobert” plays when lid is raised – a song about a king who arrived at the minister’s council with his trousers on backwards
– Hand-painted toilet bowl and plaque

Base Price – $9,799.00

I think my fave is the ashtray. Just that extra touch of class.

Sinkems: Dissolving Toilet Targets

Sinkems fun shapes are made from a patented, dissolving, non-toxic and biodegradable septic-tank safe material. Simply place one fun shape in the toilet or potty and encourage your toddler to sink’em! It’s a great way for both boys and girls to start TOILET TRAINING! When finished, just flush down the toilet

FreshMeat #11: A Load On Their Mind

FreshMeat #11 from Steve Portigal

               (oo) Fresh                  
                \\/  Meat

If you aren’t addicted to FreshMeat, well, why not?
Dive deep into the mundane; find fascination and humor

Not too much to say about the following news article,
most every toilet joke imaginable was crammed into it,
so there’s no real need for me to add more (yes, this
takes enormous restraint on my part). I think the point
is that for just about anything that we consume (and
as consumers, take for granted) there is some subset
of a brand manager, a designer, a committee, a
conference, a product manager, and who knows what –
someone who is concerned with some combination of
business success, usage, and meaning.


By John O’Callaghan SINGAPORE (Reuters) – It’s something
people use every day but organizers of the World Toilet
Summit in Singapore hope to bring the taboo topic out of
the water closet. Some 200 delegates from Asia, Europe and
North America are swapping ideas on design, public
education and sanitation under the theme “Our toilets the
past, the present and the future.”

The new World Toilet Association wants to spread the word
with its Web site — — as a nerve
center for researchers, designers, makers and vendors of a
device that is mundane to many but an unknown luxury in
much of the world.

“The proliferation of this movement worldwide will
inevitably lead to improvements in toilet environment
everywhere,” Jack Sim, president of the Restroom
Association of Singapore and organizer of the two-day
summit, said in an opening address on Monday.

Wash your hands and always flush was the message from a
mime troupe that kicked off the event with a graphic but
silent demonstration of the good, the bad and the ugly in
the bathroom.

Delegates, including Chinese officials preparing for the
Olympic onslaught in 2008, will also be treated to a tour
of some of Singapore’s most technically advanced commodes.
The latest and greatest loos will be on show at the four-
day Restroom Asia trade fair at Singapore Expo starting on

The World Health Organization estimates 40 percent of the
world’s population does not have access to adequate
sanitation, leading to the spread of disease, higher
healthcare costs and the death of two million people each
year — most of them children.

“Up to now, it’s an area that has been very much
neglected,” Lim Swee Say, Singapore’s acting minister for
the environment, told reporters on the sidelines of the
summit. “You can’t avoid talking about the kind of
challenges we face.”

Singapore already is at the forefront of enforcing toilet
etiquette with fines for not flushing and automatic devices
that sense when to send the water surging. But the city
state is not taking the future sitting down by spending S$7
billion ($3.8 billion) on a deep-tunnel sewage system and
millions more on upgrading public toilets in hawker
centers, housing estate coffee shops, parks and schools.

“We are adopting an end-to-end approach in looking at our
sanitation requirements,” Lim said in a speech.


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