Ergonomics: the answer to portable restroom’s usability problems

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Many problems related to the use of portable restrooms are linked to a limited understanding of users’ posture. With Hergo, we address the problem heads on.

Portable restrooms: improving shapes and space

Using a portable restroom doesn’t need to be an uncomfortable experience. The key to understanding how to change its perception is to look at the most common practices adopted by users, their problems and their needs.
Female users represent an important source of information, as statistically they are the group that tends to encounter more challenges when confronted with the need to use a portable toilet.
Space is limited, and the need not to touch any surface is an imperative for most women.

Out with the plank, in with ergonomic seats

Traditional portable restrooms are structured with a so called “plank” seat, where the seat is integrated onto a rectangular tank that doesn’t allow for much freedom of movement and is based on the assumption that users will adopt a seated positions. Unfortunately though, that assumption is far from the reality of things.
Some women choose to distribute toilet paper on the seat, while others go to great lengths to assume postures that would limit their chances of touching anything. Squatting over the seat is one of them, but the most common is known as “hovering”. It is a true balancing act, where the weight is distributed on partially bent knees so as to support the posterior above the seat. Taking into account the evident discomfort experienced by many, we have looked at ergonomics and anthropometric data in order to come up with a design that would improve usability.

Hergo, the first ergonomic portable restroom

The result is Hergo – Armal’s new portable restroom: its new seat naturally follows the 35 degrees angle formed by the bent knees, thus mirroring the most common posture adopted by women. In addition, the tank’s front has been reshaped so as to accommodate the legs, creating more space for the bending motion to be performed easily.
Not only we have gained better understanding of our users’ needs, but we can now offer them a totally new experience.

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