London software testing news UK

Testing if you wash your hands afterwards

Posted in Acceptance testing by testing in London on October 20, 2009


Researchers monitored a month of restroom traffic in a service station, testing to see whether messages flashed on LED displays over restroom doors influenced hand-washing frequency. “Is the person next to you washing with soap?’’ was the overall winner, which the researchers said showed people respond to what others might think of them.

But there were big differences between men and women, researchers led by Gaby Judah of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reported. Only a third of men washed their hands, compared to two-thirds of women. More men washed their hands when the message prompted disgust, as in “Soap it off or eat it later.’’ More women washed their hands when they were reminded about the risks of catching a disease, such as “Water doesn’t kill germs, soap does.’’

When the messages were flashing, hand-washing increased by about 9 percent, suggesting a role for public restrooms in public health.

BOTTOM LINE: People were more likely to wash their hands before leaving restrooms when shown messages encouraging good hygiene.

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