Choose one of the objects you selected and describe how your initial understanding of its affordances changed over the course of the exercise?
My object is a plastic Pump bottle which I’ve been reusing as a water bottle for a couple of days. My understanding of affordances over the course of the exercise as I started to remember concepts from the reading and the lecture. I started thinking of more basic characteristics of the bottle (e.g. it has weight, it has a base, it’s pliable plastic) and figuring out what they mean in terms of affordances (e.g. it affords standing, it affords pumping, it affords holding things in place).
While thinking of alternative uses, these affordances become the source of inspiration. Like we can use it as a paper weight, or a door stop, or a squirt gun, based on these affordances. Then it leads to how we can manipulate the object. Let’s say it’s now a flower vase, but we need to twist the cap off. How nice would it be if we could hang it on the terrace? So I added a strap, which would actually serve the object in its original function (as a water bottle) as well.
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 was fascinated by the concept of hidden affordances and how a person can be informed of all the affordances an object can have. How can we tell that the top cap slides up? How do we know the main cap twists off? These are some of the things we need to consider as a designer. When we were manipulating the water bottle, after experimenting with chopsticks, we thought of adding a button that would slide the top cap up, which also means the slide affordance isn’t hidden anymore.
Understanding the affordances of an object is necessary in order to optimize its design. Even the water bottle, whose design feels very obvious and intuitive, can be manipulated further according to the affordances we discover. Beyond aesthetics and the functions we deem necessary, we can explore what other affordances it can have, and maybe what affordances it shouldn’t have, what affordances should be perceptible, and what false affordances can be misleading.