There are 1.8 billion population of Muslim, where the largest Muslim population resides in Indonesia. Muslims do their prayers five times a day, and they have to be clean to do their prayers. On Hadith Sahih Muslim, Prophet Muhammad said “Cleanliness is part of the imaan (faith)”
Clean here means the body is clean from impurities (hadath), such as feces, urine or semen. As such, Muslims perform certain rituals such as istinja, a process to clean whatever has been passed after urination & defecation with water or toilet paper, to clean themselves from hadath before doing their prayers. Otherwise, they believe that their prayers won’t be fully accepted.
Such needs, however, are not catered well in today’s sanitary products. Most products available in the market are designed with Western point of view, with little consideration of the Muslim needs.
From our research, we learnt and observed many workarounds done to meet their istinja needs like: adding small bidets on the existing urinals, taking water from the wash basin to the urinal to clean their private part in the urinal, or brought water bottle with punctured holes to do istinja. Those workarounds are unreliable and troublesome, indicating a clear need for a better solution.
In order to fulfil its mission to provide a gracious sanitary experience to all users, Kohler, one of the largest sanitary companies in the world, collaborated with Somia CX, an Experience Design Consultancy in Indonesia, to tackle this challenge. “How might we improve the sanitary solution to better support Muslim Men do istinja?“
We developed a urinal design with separate water spouts designed to help users do istinja more conveniently. The products were designed for public spaces, with the hope of helping Muslims carry out their rituals while being away from home without worrying about getting impurities that might hinder their prayers. The design was well received by the Muslim users, as they it was in line with their values. Non-Muslim also appreciated these features, as it allows them to become more hygienic in cleaning themselves. Building developers are excited too, as with these urinals, they would be able to attract and cater more to Muslim market.
The new urinal is now in production and we hope it will hit the market in early 2021. We hope this product can better support the Muslim needs, and spark more inspirations towards designing closer to cultural context.
To gain extensive understanding of the context, we engaged Muslim users from the very beginning of the development process. During the 3 years of product development, we interviewed and ideated together with Muslim experts, architects, developers, and also the target users.
We went through many rounds of iteration of design and testing, from using illustrated concepts, 1:1 scale drawing, and working prototypes. Through getting feedback from different prototypes and interactions, we were able to design the optimal combination that best met the user needs and expectations.