Who would have thought you that you could learn a lot about consumer behaviour from urinal design? Yes, that's right, public toilets for men.
The urinals in question are in Amsterdam Schipol airport. And they are featured in a new book, Nudge. The book is about how little bits of encouragement can incentivise the "right" sorts of behaviour.
Here is a picture of the urinals. When I saw this, I remembered them. Which is pretty amazing as it's at least a year since I was in Schipol. Look carefully and you'll see that each urinal has a little picture of
a fly in it.And guess what men, sad buggers that we are, try to do
when they see this fly? That's right. They try to hit the fly with
But what's the point, apart from proving that us guys grow up physically but are still really schoolboys at heart? Well, the point is that "spillage" went down by 80%. And that means less cleaning, which means less cost, which means more profit. And a nicer place to do a pee. Now is that clever, or what?
The bigger point is using clever design to influence, or "nudge", consumer behaviour. This means enticing and inviting them to act, rather than telling them what to do. Another example from an earlier post is Linked In, the business networking website, showing you an updated list of people you might want to connect to when you log in. This is much more effective than just telling you "Don't forget to connect to new people."