This week’s class was a discussion of Gibson’s theory of Affordances based on the results of the practical exercise. Each group found three examples of affordances in products. As a group, we first looked at a still photograph of a product and discussed what it would afford for us and how we could see this from the picture. We then watched a video clip of the product in use and discussed whether we had interpreted the affordances of the product correctly and whether there were other affordances we had not considered.
Some interesting points that came up:
- Designing to hide affordances, the locket, hidden doors.
- Relation between affordances and knowledge of conventions. For example, red & blue color coding of faucet handles, use of an arrow on the medicine bottle lid.
- When to use the physical form to convey an affordance and when to rely on text. For example, the labelling of the days on the medicine dispenser.
- How does a product afford a range of levels of skill in the interaction. For example, the foosball table has relatively constrained and easy to interpret controls for a beginner (random twirling), but also affords refined interactions for a skilled player (deflecting off the wall).
- Even a simple product such as a table affords a wide range of activities. For example, sitting down to work at, dropping a coat on, leaving reminders on, eating a meal at, hiding under or even dancing on.
- It is also important to consider the whole posture of the body when thinking about the affordances. For example, an adjustable chair is much easier to adjust the height of when you are sitting in it than when you just operate the levers.
Do you have others that I have forgotten about?