Bad Design #28 – to flush or not to flush

Have you encountered this toilet flush button? It must be a popular, or cheap, product, because it’s in a lot of public toilets. Especially shopping centres and gyms.

It has several problems, so let’s begin…

1) It’s just too small

Firstly, this button is being used in public toilets, so you need to take into consideration that people don’t want to touch anything. So making the buttons small and intricate, means you can’t use an elbow or palm or foot! (yes, you know who you are). Look what happens when I try to be hygienic… no control over which button I push.

Secondly, you need to take into consideration the many different sized fingers that need to use it. I don’t have large hands, but even my narrow fingers have difficulty pressing only one button at a time.

2) How do you use it?

That’s right, how do you use it? It is obviously split into two buttons, meaning it probably has half flush and full flush…I guess… One would think that pressing one button would half flush, but which button? And one would be forgiven for thinking you needed to press the other button to get a full flush. But I believe you need to press both in order to get the full flush. I’m not sure… I didn’t have time to experiment.

How ever it works, the issue is I’m having to learn how to flush the toilet…learn!!

3) Wrong product for location

This button was in a public toilet, in the ambulant cubicle no less. So, two issues. Firstly, ambulant toilets are for people with less mobility and possibly walking aids. You would expect they may need a more user friendly and ergonomic buttons. And secondly, this particular button should not be used in the public environment. Maybe in your home, where you don’t mind the other problems, but not in public.

Problem: Several.. and what happens when you create barriers in the toilet? People don’t flush. It’s the easiest option.

Come on specifiers, lift your game.

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