Beyond the Binary: Setting the Wayfinding Standard for Inclusive Restrooms

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The presenters at SEGD’s upcoming 2021 Wayfinding + Placemaking virtual conference (June 23-24) will explore topics about connecting people to place while navigating cultural sensitivities and nuances. Carla Ramirez Sosa and Anna de Jonge of Mijksenaar will present on a particularly challenging topic: the role of wayfinding in the implementation of inclusive public restrooms. 

Contributor Franck Mercurio gives a preview of Carla’s and Anna’s presentation scheduled for June 23.

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.

To sign up for the SEGD 2021 Wayfinding + Placemaking event go here.

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