Choose one of the objects you selected and describe how your initial understanding of its affordances changed over the course of the exercise?
I chose toothpaste and toothbrush which from bathroom as the objects. Initially, as a normal individual, I thought they are just tools for cleaning your teeth and there is nothing different. While I am interacting with the toothpaste and toothbrush as a lazy person, I found the seperate cleaning tools are so complicated. As a result, I cut the toothpaste and put it on the cuted toothbrush. The affordance of these tools has been changed, it looks like I do not need to squeeze toothpaste from the tube each time. While I am observing the combined tool, I found the affordance is suitable for teaching child how to utilise the toothbrush, cause it partially could be an auto-teaching brush.
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.
According to Norman (1988) an affordance is the design aspect of an object which suggest how the object should be used; a visual clue to its function and use. Norman writes: “…the term affordance refers to the perceived and actual properties of the thing, primarily those fundamental properties that determine just how the thing could possibly be used. Affordances provide strong clues to the operations of things. Plates are for pushing. Knobs are for turning. Slots are for inserting things into. Balls are for throwing or bouncing. When affordances are taken advantage of, the user knows what to do just by looking: no picture, label, or instruction needed.” (Norman 1988)
The difference between user and object could contribute to totally different results and interactive details. As a designer, I should always consider more about the affordance of designing. While decorating the knife with cling wraps and silver paper, the function of the original knife has been changed, the precious user could use this as a shovel in the kitchen, or a tool while planting flowers.
Norman thus defines an affordance as something of both actual and perceived properties. The affordance of a ball is both its round shape, physical material, bouncability, etc. (its actual properties) as well as the perceived suggestion as to how the ball should be used (its perceived properties). When actual and perceived properties are combined, an affordance emerges as a relationship that holds between the object and the individual that is acting on the object (Norman 1999). As Norman makes clear in an endnote in Norman (1988), this view is in conflict with Gibson’s idea of an affordance (explained next).