Choose one of the objects you selected and describe how your initial understanding of its affordances changed over the course of the exercise?

One of the objects in which I would normally not think too much about, was a hairbrush. Initially the only affordances I understood were perceptible affordances such as the brush handle and bristles. However once interacting with the brush blindfolded, I started to understand the hidden affordances which I would take for granted such as the handle having a slight bump so the user can tell which side has the bristles & for comfort. The same aspects of an object can also have different types of affordances, for example, though the bristle themselves are a perceptible affordances, it is only until you start using it that you realise the soft texture of the bristles which was designed to ensure it does not harm your scalp, which turns out to be a hidden affordance.

Given that affordances is a relational property between a person and an object, how did the manipulation of the object and the person’s abilities inform your understanding of the concept? Did it give you inspiration or insight for how to work with affordances as a designer? Discuss this through the specific objects you explored in the exercise.

I find it very interesting to understand that the affordances are relative to a person’s ability to the object. Being blindfolded while holding the brush allowed me to understand the simple things I take for granted such as gripping the handle, can be a difficult task for another. Without the shape of the handle or bump on the bristle side of the brush, a seemingly easy task for me can only be made easy for someone who is blind with these affordances. Similarly with the teapot, initially it did not connect with me on why it was made from glass, aside for aesthetic appeal. However after discussing with my partner, who happened to be an avid tea lover, the glass allows him to know the colour of the tea which will determine when is the perfect time to drink it. The inspiration I have learnt from this exercise is to be very open-minded. As a designer, you can get so worked up into designing for your own affordances, you may not see the hidden ones needed for another to use your product. For example, being a left-hander myself, when I create a design, I feel I might need to also ask a right-hander to hold it to see how they feel. Is it comfortable for them? Does it feel easy to use for them? Therefore it is important to try different situations like we have practiced but also to ask people who differ in their relationship with the object. Affordances that differ even so slightly can make a big difference to the design and considerations.

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My two objects: Brush & Glass Teapot

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