Business Industries

Our product is a toilet seat that lifts up with the step of a pedal. The purpose of our report is to test whether or not our product will be of success and or test what things are necessary to launch our business, J.J.L. Industries. Concept Testing The ‘Toilet Stepper’ was tested using a survey that was designed to understand the bathroom experiences and habits of all types of individuals (Male, female, young, mid-aged, old). When discussing the concept with the surveyed individuals we found that overall everyone thought it was a good idea, however, some males felt it was sexist that they needed to have to pick up the toilet seat and put it down when finished.

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These individuals felt that a woman should have to put down the toilet seat and lift it back up when they are done with it. (These were generally married couples). While asking some key industry participants such as Home Depot and Menards about the idea and survey they tended not to comment, stating it was against company policy and/or the boss was overlooking them and they would prefer not to take part in the survey. The most information we received through them was through the verbal conversation which we will call ‘interviews’. Through the ‘interviews’ we found that the industry participants felt that it was a good idea and also found it quite humorous.

Our Concept Statement was mainly showed to relatives, friends, classmates, and strangers. Unfortunately the our concept statement was not shown to companies/businesses due to the fact that companies could neither partake in the activity (company policy/work time) or they didn’t have time for ‘non-serious’ business related issues. Overall we learned that just about everyone is picky about restrooms/toilets.

We also learned that it is very hard to get information from key people when there is no reward or benefit in return. Being viewed at as a student doing research rather than a business partner, company managers/employees don’t seem to have or want to take the time to help you. If we were to do this again we would most likely hide the fact that we are students taking introducing an idea and taking a survey and pretend more like we are actually in the business of selling these ‘Toilet Steppers’.

Usability Testing

We conducted our usability test by ‘sitting in’ restrooms for short periods of time observing the bathroom habits of individuals. We noticed that many people in men’s restrooms did not flush nor did they lift the toilet seat. We also noticed that people who seemed to have to sit to ‘do their business’ would kick the stall doors open and check individual toilets till they found one that was clean enough for them to use. This demonstrated that their main concern with going to the restroom was cleanliness. This was also proven through our concept testing survey.

As a prop for our usability testing we had a concept drawing which was a side view of a toilet. On the right hand side was a pedal that was attached to an arm which then connected to the toilet seat. The drawing demonstrated that when the pedal was stepped on the toilet seat would lift up and when the foot was taken off of the pedal the seat would come back down. Through this concept drawing we hoped to learn if the design would be comfortable and virtually effortless to use.

When showing and explaining our concept drawing to several individuals who were entering or leaving the washroom about our concept they felt it was an amazing idea. Many laughed about how such a simple product could solve such a hassle when using a public restroom. From the drawing we found it to be nearly perfect in design, although, it is hard to tell how well a product will work since it is only a drawing and cannot be tested. The feature of where the pedal was placed made it almost perfect for standing while urinating because the pedal is in the area one’s foot would be placed while standing.

Once we completed our usability test we found that we could have increased our usefulness by adding the option of having the toilet flush once your foot was taken off of the pedal. This would make it even more convenient for the individual (who would most likely be male) to use a public restroom without having to touch anything they felt might be dirty or unsanitary. Many of our potential customers would use our product to keep their bathrooms cleaner (especially in public places) and use it to keep their partners from getting upset with leaving the toilet seat up/not putting it down when finished and visa-versa. A lot of the potential customers seemed more to be women (living with a partner) who dislike the fact that the men in the house leave the toilet seat up or urinate on it when using the washroom. In addition, many men wished the ‘Toilet Stepper’ was already in public restrooms so they wouldn’t have to deal with the problem of checking every stall or cleaning up someone else’s urine.

Marketability Our ‘Toilet Stepper’ makes someone’s life easier and more efficient by not needing to spend the time looking for a clean toilet, cleaning off an already soiled toilet, or putting down a toilet seat that was left up. This benefits individuals who are in a hurry to get to the washroom and don’t have the time to be cleaning up someone else’s mess, couples who argue about leaving the toilet seat up or down, and public places by having an almost maintenance free toilet (no need to clean/check every half hour as most places do).

This will not only decrease the time it takes for someone to go in and out of a washroom (they won’t have to clean anything) but will also decrease the maintenance time of washrooms saving managers of places with public restrooms money by eliminating the amount of time spent cleaning washrooms. Over the months the product will pay for itself. Also, people won’t complain about a store’s/restaurant’s/business’ restroom being disgusting.

As far as the market for toilet seats a recent study revealed that nearly 70% of consumers only buy a new toilet seat every seven years – when it breaks, gets damaged, or during remodeling. Last year alone the over 10 million toilets were sold without a seat ( The market for new toilet seats, priced at about 30 dollars (home depot), would be a 300 million dollar market. This does not include toilet seats that were replaced when broken, damaged, or during remodeling.