I hope you enjoy this short video, where I a) document the real reason there is water everywhere and b) show you what it's really like being an observer of consumer life -- people think you are seriously wierd.
I opened my Oct 29 to Nov 4 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek and was delighted to see an article on redesigning the office bathroom! It's about time some attention went to this! Thanks Businessweek!
The article, Why Do Office Bathrooms Stink, by Christopher Bonanos, notes that the current standard office bathroom design causes stress for a lot of people: there's no privacy, noises and smells can be a source of embarassment, and people feel they are being monitored in their visits. Plus they are a design wasteland, for the most part, and bring no joy into people's lives.
"Bathroom visits at work are a source of stress for a lot of people"
Nick Haslam, of University of Melbourne and author of the 2012 book Psychology in the Bathroom, told Businessweek that "Bathroom visits are work are a source of stress for a lot of people. Being overheard can be especially troubling for women, to the point that many Japanese women carry little white-noise generators to mask incriminating sounds when they visit the bathroom."
In some cultures these noises are embarassing enough that people flush frequently, (creating unnecessary use of treated water!)
There is now at least one app to use as a substitute for extra flushing, such as the Thirst Flusher app reported in Springwise and illustrated in the video below.
The Businessweek article goes on to ask some leading designers to rethink the office bathroom, and they come up with some creative and amazing ideas.
You can find out more about the Thirst global water awareness campaign on their site, here.
Since getting the blogfest started way back in 2006 with some blog buddies, there have been a tremendous number of improvements in the state of bathrooms.
One thing I notice a lot -- Moms and even Dads can usually count on a fold-down table to change junior on.
In fact, quite often I see something marked for families, where a parent can scoot in with a handful of toddlers in tow, and look after everyone's needs all in one room.
What I still notice, however, is how scary those giant toilets are for tiny bums. Listening to a Mom say "It's okay honey, I've got you, you're fine, now please just go" over and over made me wonder why there isn't a better option. Apparently there is.
On a recent trip to Munich I saw the better option in a museum bathroom. There, hanging on the wall, was a little person seat, just the thing to make a child feel safe.
It's a funny thing, in our child-oriented culture, that these are not more common.
Don't forget to check out the other posts, most easily seen on Twitter at @bathroomblogfes or look for #bathroomEXP
Consumers everywhere seem to feel they are still climbing out, despite hearing that "the market" has returned to normal, and other reassurances. So this was a natural theme for our 6th annual Bathroom Blogfest. You can see all the participants in the table below.
And of course there is a Twitter feed: @BathroomBlogfes and a hashtag: #BathroomEXP
(Hey, Chief Inspiration Officer for the fest is C.B.Whittemore, no slouch when it comes to social media!)
I plan to make a few modest contributions this week, but you will find more -- much more -- on the other blogs and on Twitter. Join us while we do a quick clean up of the state of the bathroom in modern culture.
I see this as a continuation of the desire to control how we present ourselves to the world. We may not choose privacy, but we do choose what we share and how.
Now that we are all in the business of spinning our own identities, does this mean we are less susceptible to the spin efforts of others, such as politicians?
[Extra credit: If you're up for a little self-analysis, try writing your own obituary. It's an interesting exercise in learning what you have actually valued in your life, and what you might like your personal future to hold.]
There's a myth out there that Apple does not do marketing research. This is nonsense, of course, but seems to have tremendous staying power.
I saw something today that pretty much proves they conduct research -- they might call it product development, or usability, or ergonomic, or whatever, but it's research into what people want, what they like, what is comfortable for them.
When you test 124 different prototypes on 600 people, that's research. Good companies do it. Including Apple.
Strategy Mag recently published fascinating stats from research firm Fresh Intelligence. One that caught my eye:
Consumers think brands should be better at:
Saving time 46%
Product innovation: 44%
Seamless and transparent communication with consumers: 27%
Making buying easier - apps/sites that help make informed decisions and online ordering: 24%
I got a lovely example from Porter Airlines this week that created genuine surprise and delight, and saved me a step in the process. They notified me by e-mail that I am checked in for the flight, and they attached my boarding pass.
One whole step removed!
Can you remove some steps from your customers' lives that add them no value? Or are even irritating?