Toilet Usability – 6 Reasons Why the new NYC Public Toilets are Doomed

With great fanfare, New York City Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff (who will almost certainly never use this toilet himself) today announced the installation of new public toilets throughout the city (toilets he will almost certainly not be using himself.)  The idea of public restrooms in the city is of course highly welcomed, though it’s a bit embarrassing that this is being announced in 2008 and not, say, 1908.  But no matter, when reading the description of the new toilets, there are just so many IMO terrible design choices that were made that I have to wonder if any kind of prototyping/usability testing was completed.  I just can’t imagine these toilets being a success and these are some reasons why: 1 – They look like prison toilets There is a very strong association between a stainless steel toilet attached to the wall with no seat and what you might find in

Emergencies and Design

Sitting here stranded in my apartment during the NYC Transit strike has got me thinking about the relationship between design and emergencies (ok, compared to real emergencies like Katrina and the Atche Tsunami, this strike is more a major headache, though for some, such as those who are losing money or access to healthcare, it is a true hardship.) Emergencies are, in most cases, sudden and unexpected; design work is traditionally carefully planned and relatively time-consuming.  At the same time, it is often exactly in times of emergency when the need for good design is the greatest.