The Times Australia

Small Business Marketing
The Times


Designing for Accessibility: How Toilet Signs Can Promote Inclusivity

  • Written by The Times

Toilet signs are a crucial aspect of any public facility or establishment. They play an important role in guiding individuals to the appropriate restroom while ensuring that everyone feels safe and comfortable while using the facilities. Toilet signs are essential for communication, directing individuals to the right place, and avoiding confusion.

A toilet sign can come in different shapes, sizes, colours, and styles depending on the establishment's preferences. The most common signs are the male and female symbols or pictograms that are easily recognizable, even for individuals who do not speak the language. These signs are usually placed on doors or walls adjacent to the restroom.

Toilet signs play a crucial role in promoting inclusivity and accessibility in public spaces. They not only guide individuals to the right facilities but also communicate a message of acceptance and accommodation for different gender identities and abilities. Here are how toilet signs can promote inclusivity:

Gender-Neutral Signs

By removing gender-specific language and symbols, individuals of all genders can feel welcome and safe when using the restroom. This can be particularly important for those who identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming, who may feel uncomfortable using a restroom designated for a specific gender. Gender-neutral signs also help to challenge traditional gender norms and promote equality. By implementing this simple change, organizations can show their commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all individuals.

Accessible Symbols

Including symbols such as a wheelchair, a person with crutches, or a person with a hearing aid can make it clear that the restroom is designed to be accessible to all individuals, regardless of their physical abilities. This promotes inclusivity by ensuring that everyone can use the facilities comfortably and safely. By incorporating accessible symbols, businesses, and organizations can signal their commitment to creating an inclusive environment that caters to the needs of all individuals.

Multilingual Signs

This approach ensures that individuals who speak different languages can understand the signage and feel welcome in your facility. It's important to note that this goes beyond just translating the words; it's crucial to take cultural differences into account as well. It can also help individuals with disabilities who may require assistance navigating the restroom.

Braille Signs

Braille signs provide accessibility for visually impaired individuals, allowing them to navigate and identify the appropriate restroom easily. It shows that the established values accommodate all individuals, regardless of their abilities. It promotes an inclusive culture that recognizes and respects the diverse needs of all people. By implementing braille signs, establishments can create a welcoming environment and foster a sense of belonging for everyone.

Clear and Concise Language

Using language that is easily understandable by everyone, regardless of their background or education level, is essential. Words like "gender-neutral,” "all-gender,” and "gender-inclusive" should be used instead of binary gender terms like "male" and "female.” It is also important to use professional language that avoids slang or derogatory terms. This ensures that all individuals feel respected and included, regardless of their gender identity.


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