Sunday, 15 December 2013


In one of my "Concept & Idealization" seminars we learnt about affordances. The word affordances in the context of technology describe the factors which determine how a user performs actions with an object. For example the physical appearance of an object can influence the ways in which a user interacts with an object such as handle bar on a door which when identified by a human would determine that the door needs to be pulled and not pushed.

However affordances can be interpreted differently by foreign cultures for example in the seminar the lecturer gave the example of chop sticks and some knitting needles which look pretty much identical however have completely different uses in different cultures.

This is a factor which as designers we must consider when designing artifacts as the physical appearance of an object doesn't always give a hint to its use for example a computer mouse wouldn't initially be thought to as  a computer navigation device however as the mouse is very easy to use, the learning process is arbitrary as the user would eventually see the action and reaction of the testing with the mouse. 

It is argued that its best as designers to develop new technologies which are similar to existing technology for example in the game guitar hero the user is required to use a plastic guitar as the controller for the game. This had its advantages and disadvantages for example for tasks such as navigating the menus the plastic guitar is pretty poor as the physical appearance of the guitar doesn't really hint at how it should be used by the user to navigate the menus. However for the actual gameplay the guitar performed well and arguebly better than it would on a tradional controller.

It's somewhat easy for the user to understand how to use the guitar controller because the user would of identified how a tradional guitar is used and then would replicate those actions when using the guitar controller.

Tony Jebara. (). Action Reaction Learning: Automatic Visual Analysis and Synthesis of Interactive Behaviour. Available: Last accessed 12th Dec 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment