Yesterday the new Changing Places Toilet Map came on-line at http://changingplaces.uktoiletmap.org so we thought we’d take a look and give a first impressions review.
What does the map offer?
I first viewed the new website on a desktop – but the mobile version is pretty much identical.
The layout is clean and simple – it does look rather good.
Visitors are offered 1 of three options.
- Find a Toilet
- Plan a Journey
- Create an account to save favourite locations and routes (or send them via e-mail to yourself).
Lets try option 1 – Find a Toilet.
Naturally I know all the CP toilets in my home county – so first I searched for ‘Kent’.
As I typed, options of places with the letters ‘kent’ popped up to select. I left it as ‘Kent’.
What is interesting is that depending on the Zoom setting in your browser, depends on what information you get.
For example, on Safari, the address/location listings read:
I expected all the listing to be in Kent but areas around the border were coming up and many outside of Kent were listed below Zoom setting 3.
Zoom 3 showed up 10 Kent addresses alongside a Google map of all locations and appears to be the one which keeps the format of the site intact.
This was the map that I saw (Click on the beneath image to enlarge it).
I clicked on the icon in Maidstone Town Centre – the location was accurate and on clicking again it brought me to a page with a detailed close up street level map, phone number, facility features, opening hours and additional information.
I could not find any picture of the toilet area / entrance or similar for this toilet. There is a feedback button which you can click and it shows you this form:
I like the form – quite simple and clean looking. However the options to ‘save’ or ‘cancel’ were confusing. If ‘Save’ actually sends the form then this should be made more understandable – and it’s not clear were the feedback goes.
Pressing the back button on my browser, I thought I’d get back to the map of the toilets in Kent but I was returned after 3 clicks backwards to the home search page which was frustrating.
However, going through the same pattern for other toilets did return me to the list of Kent toilets – so perhaps a bug in the system?
Whitstable has a Changing Places that opened in August his year (shown here in the local news) but this is currently not listed (maybe not registered yet?). Any CP toilet that is not registered does not go on the map.
Pictures: Looking at other toilets on the map, some had pictures but the thumbnails didn’t seem to enlarge at all on my browser.
Plan a Journey
This function is also called ‘Plan a route’. Personally I’d have kept the language the same throughout the site as a matter of good practice.
So, let me plan a journey to my hospital in Oxford as the Oxford Radcliffe NHS Trust doesn’t have any place I can go to the toilet (no hoists/CP toilets).
First off, the route takes me pretty much the way we go, along the motorways.
It does indeed show me the toilets along the way – although each is a good hour detour and one would have me visiting the airport. This is not a map fault – just that there are are only around 2 CP toilets next to motorways at service stations in the whole of the UK.
Now, if I’ve been to the hospital and waited there for 4 hours and need the toilet – its a long drive to the nearest toilet: Buckinghamshire!!
The route system allows you to plan waypoint i.e. tell them you want to go via a certain town etc.
You need to check each toilet on route because depending on what time or day of the week that you travel, some toilets are only open certain times of the day or only on certain days.
It can also tell you walking and cycling routes. I found this rather funny considering this is me on a cycle and the distance you have to go to find a CP toilet in most parts of the UK would not be so pleasant for my husband!!
Other parts to the site
There is a Frequently Asked Questions section – not specific to the map but including things like how to install one, how much it costs, managing security and possible funding sources. The information is really good but not really aimed at ‘users’.
The front of the website shows you the current number of registered CP toilets – fingers crossed we see more and more every month.
Registration – extra functions.
Verified by e-mail, I registered my user name, e-mail address and signed up.
I clicked on the verification e-mail and logged in very quickly – took less than 10 seconds.
I could now save favourite toilets and routes and have details e-mailed over to me in seconds. My routes had a new ‘add route to favourites button’ and ‘e-mail info’ button.
Overall first impression
A much improved web site experience which is easy to use and clear to understand. Larger photos and a greater photo collection would be even better and perhaps users can enter extra information to be added via the included form. Over time it would then get even better e.g. info such as the CP toilet in Dartford also serving the theatre (same venue building) but is accessed via a lift which needs to be working. I only know this because the day I went to the theatre the lift to the toilet block was out of order!!
So come on businesses – fill the map up with thousands more toilets because we really need them.