Have you ever noticed? Solving real-life problem via UX design process

Hello friends,

Welcome back to my blog.

Recently, I travelled to one of my relative for engagement ceremony in Palanpur, Gujarat. I got an opportunity to explore different regions of Palanpur, like semi-urban and rural areas. I interacted with my friends, relatives and some new members there. It was a very amazing and nature-loving trip.

I had to stay at my relative’s house. To me, it was a huge house with a spacious balcony and a very big terrace. Here, I am comparing their house with the Mumbai house where I live.

I encountered with very interesting and exciting part of the house. Any guess?


Try again.

Still No!

Let me tell you.

The part of the house that got my attention was the Restroom attached with the Bathing room. These rooms are built up in a very unique yet common space of the house.

You might be wondering how it is unique and yet common?

Let me again answer your query.

How it’s unique? Because it is built in the open balcony space.

Then how it’s common? Just because every house there have this construction in common.

Now, you might be wondering then what got my attention.

Well, let me again explain the story in detail.

Before I start narrating, I would appreciate that the people here are very strict for the hygiene and cleanliness of the house.

Now let’s start.

Look at the below image carefully.

Original Image with Hidden Problem

Did this image got your attention too?

I believe it certainly did.

Noticed anything? May be YES, may be NO.

But, hey, why I am asking questions, I was narrating my story.

Windows on top

A very important section of the door. In the above image, there is a small curtain of the same size to keep privacy. Secondly, this window curtain can be moved to a side to let the natural day light come in, when there is no electricity. Here in Palanpur, electricity supply is cut off for few hours during the day. Thus, the windows got my attention at the first.

Symmetry in the design

Hinges for the doors on either sides of the frame. A central divider frame for the rooms. Both the doors look like a part of big door. Common pulled up foot to prevent the water come out of the rooms while using. Handles and latched in centre and middle of the big frame. Handles and latches are placed at a proper height that even a kid can open easily.

Preserve home Hygiene and Cleanliness

These rooms are built out of the main living rooms in the spacious balcony so that the hygiene is well maintained as per the Hindu mythology. It also helps to prevent the main living rooms from getting slippery due to the water that comes along with person just bathed. More to it, this construction also help in keeping the living rooms more spacious unlike Mumbai houses.

Common and shortest drainage system

This is most important of all. We, in Mumbai, often face drainage issues like broken pipes and blockage. Coming back here, since the bathroom and restroom are constructed in balcony that in near to the common drainage system, they have saved a lot. Also, there is no such issues of broken or blockage of the drainage pipes.

Now, here comes the problems due to having such construction.

  1. Having such a symmetry is great. But, it comes with a drawback as well. As these doors are similar to each other, most guests (sometimes family members also) get confused, which door is for what purpose.
  2. Also, there is no indication about the room status. I mean to say, if I am about to take bath, I don’t know whether the room is vacant or someone is already taking a bath. Same goes with the restroom.
  3. Imagine, both the rooms are occupied and it happened that both the persons are taking exit. As soon as they open the doors, they themselves get clash with each other since the path to take exit intersects each other. Many a times, this situation happens when the persons are taking entry to the rooms.
  4. Once, it happened like when my father (senior citizen) was going to take bath, he got hurt at knee by the central wooden frame.

Here, I have tried to put some solutions to the problem I encountered.

  • Attaching a WC and Shower sticker to the door from outside can help the family members differentiate between them, more than the guests. Because family members are DAU (Daily Active Users) of these rooms. Guests come occasionally.
Solution 1
  • A status indicator for these rooms would be great for the next user. They would not need to knock or check whether the room is vacant or engaged every time they visit.
Room status like in Indian Railways
  • I feel, the doors should be made to open from one side only. I mean that the doors must open from its left edge. This change will help the users to avoid clash while entering or taking exit from the rooms. More to it, no one will now get hurt by the frames accidentally.
  • This case study made me understand the heart of UX Design process.
  • It gave me an opportunity to take a look at problems from a completely different perspective.
  • Our solution will never be perfect in one go; there is always room for improvement; keep iterating until it is useful to the user.
  • I had fun while doing the case study, the journey was full of learnings and un-learnings.
  • I would like to find such more interesting things
  • I would like to do the usability testing with more people if possible
  • I would try not to be perfect and learn as much as I can

Thank you for reading! If you liked this article let me know in the comments! Would love to hear your thoughts/feedbacks.

You can reach out to me at ramvjk@gmail.com or LinkedIn

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See you until next time 👋

#StudentForLife #uxdesign #designthinking #product

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