2. Background: Water Scarcity
3. Waterless Toilet
4. User-Centered Research Approach
4.1. The FFE Process
4.1.1. Phase 1: Focus Group Interviews
- Disbelief about water scarcity: Everyone had heard that the Republic of Korea lacked water since they were children. However, most did not think that this was true, since the water quality in Korea is good and since they could access sufficient water to meet their needs anytime and anywhere. One individual thought that the push to save water (i.e., the many water-saving media campaigns) was propaganda. Only a few people had actually tried to save water through such methods as “using a cup to brush their teeth,” “filling a water basin to wash their faces,” or, in the case of one individual, “putting a plastic bottle in the toilet water tank to flush less water.”
- Motivation for saving water: Most participants said that they had not attempted to try to save water because they did not believe that the Republic of Korea was truly suffering from water scarcity. The participants had no direct experiences of water scarcity, and most mentioned that, since their water bills were not expensive, they were not aware of how much water they used each day. They were from a demographic that was less likely to experience shortage or poor quality of water. As possible motivators to save water, the participants recommended water usage indicators or visual indicators of water consumption. They also suggested that more media exposure would be helpful in raising awareness of water scarcity. Lastly, they commented that financial losses would motivate them to save water. Some participants wanted tax deductions for saving water.
- Experience requirement for the waterless toilet: This theme emerged from the two questions about the participants’ perceptions about a waterless toilet and their dream toilets. None of the participants had previously thought about their dream toilet. However, they said that they wanted a new toilet based on their public and private toilet experiences: visual cleanness, sanitariness (including automatic cleaning around the inside of the bowl), automatic flushing after usage, no bad odor, soundproofing within a public toilet, and a comfortably warm seat cover. Since the participants had not previously considered the water scarcity problem, they explained ways in which they would improve the current style of toilet. They also said that they would try a waterless toilet if they came across it in a public restroom. Most asked for simple visual guidance on how to use a waterless toilet, which is designed to suck up feces like a “vacuum cleaner” and send it directly to the energy production system. It requires about half liters of water, which is significantly less than what a regular toilet consumes.
4.1.2. Phase 2: Case Studies for Service Design Guideline
- Redesigning an apartment energy bill (http://www.slideshare.net/sdnight/ss-30524771). This case concerned one of the first service designs for a utility service in Korea. It was conducted on an apartment town comprising 600 apartments in Bangbae Dong, Seoul, and its results were highly effective, reducing the total energy bills by 10%. Many redesigning projects graphically change a certain part of an energy bill; however, in this case, the designers and design researchers reduced the energy bill based on in-depth interviews with the community. This case study prompted other apartment towns to accept similar guidelines.
- National Health Insurance Service (http://www.slideshare.net/usableweb/ss-16567992?related=1). This case involved redesigning a health check-up chart for the National Health Insurance Service at Ilsan, Myungji Hospital. The chart had been criticized for being difficult to read by people who were not medical doctors from specific areas. In other words, doctors in one medical center often struggled to understand examinations conducted in other medical centers. The redesigned check-up chart received a 95% satisfaction rating.
- Changwon National Industrial complex. As foreign labor for industrial complexes has increased, many industrial safety accidents have occurred. To reduce safety accidents, which can also waste energy resources (e.g., in cases of hydrofluoric acid leaks), a user-centered approach was employed. The service design involved changing signage and installing pictograms for international laborers. This case was published online (http://economy.hankooki.com/lpage/industry/201504/e20150406173204120170.htm).
Case Study Results
- Easy readability. Most people were interested in their health conditions or how much they were charged on their utility bill. However, previous bills had been designed with small font sizes and logos or advertisements. Based on user interviews, both bills were redesigned to use larger fonts and exclude or deemphasize less important information.
- Vivid color for nudging. Both the apartment bill case and the industrial complex case used a vivid red color for warnings. If an individual used more energy than that used by the average household nationwide, he or she received a red-colored bill that was visible to every neighbor. If an individual used less energy than the national average, he or she received a green-colored bill. Average utility usage generated a yellow-colored bill. Being able to compare their consumption with that of their neighbors motivated many users to reduce their consumption. Similarly, in the case of the national industrial complex, toxic pipelines were colored red to alert international laborers who did not know Koreans to be cautious. This step reduced workplace accidents. In short, using a vivid color and improving readability increased competitiveness among residents and safety among laborers.
4.2. Influence of User Research on the Waterless Toilet Design
5. Prototyping: Waterless Toilet Design
Conflicts of Interest
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