Beyond the Binary: Setting the Wayfinding Standard for Inclusive Restrooms

Read Time: 2 minutes

Happy first day of Pride Month 2022! Here at SEGD we have been striving to do better to create inclusive programming and partnerships that provide impactful social education and inspire positive action toward a truly egalitarian society–and need the voices of the community to do so.

To kick off the month, we would like to feature Beyond the Binary: Setting the Wayfinding Standard for Inclusive Restrooms. This topic, featured at our 2021 Wayfinding + Placemaking event, is an important one as we strive to make the world a more inclusive place.

We look forward to celebrating Pride month with all of you!

Inclusivity, diversity and equity are ideals that designers strive to achieve in their designs. But providing accessibility to everyone—regardless of an individual’s abilities or circumstances—can often be challenging. Sometimes, the challenge is physical and other times cultural. For example: designing public restrooms to accommodate everybody.

With the emergence of all-gender restrooms, Mijksenaar (Amsterdam and New York) needed to develop a new pictogram. But what started as a straightforward pictogram exploration quickly turned into a much deeper dive into the history of the restroom symbol and public restroom design overall. This resulted in Mijksenaar’s white paper “Beyond the Binary: Setting the Wayfinding Standard for Inclusive Restrooms” which Mijksenaar team members Carla Ramirez Sosa and Anna de Jonge will present at SEGD’s 2021 Wayfinding + Placemaking virtual conference scheduled for June 23–24.

“We embarked on this research project to help our team and our clients make informed decisions on the implementation of all-gender restrooms,” states Beyond the Binary, which documents Mijksenaar’s research on the topic and subsequent design proposals. “Most of all, we hope this white paper contributes to a continuously more inclusive and dignified experience for all in our society.”

As part of the project, Mijksenaar worked with University of Twente student Noor de Wit and Vereniging Genderdiversiteit, a transgender rights organization in the Netherlands, to conduct various types of research, including empathy research where the restrooms at the Amsterdam office were changed to “all-gender”; online surveys with the general public; in-depth interviews with members of the LGBTQ+ community; and usability testing at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The result: a design toolkit with wayfinding solutions and recommendations for the spatial design of inclusive restrooms.

Mijksenaar’s vision statement declares that the firm believes in “design for all” including those whose “gender identity falls outside the binary.” Beyond the Binary clearly illustrates their efforts in achieving this ideal. Learn more about Mijksenaar’s design proposals for all-gender restrooms when Carla Ramirez Sosa and Anna de Jonge present “Beyond the Binary” on June 23 at 4:15 pm ET as part of SEGD’s 2021 Wayfinding + Placemaking virtual conference.

You can learn more about the “Beyond the Binary” white paper and download a copy here.

View the recording of this incredible talk here.