- 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 a pair of chopsticks from my kitchen as the object. It is made of wood and painted in brown. The pair of chopsticks is thin and tapered. It is about 25 cm in length. I use it frequently when I serve or eat food. It is easy to pick up for the light weight.
However, in the exercise, my initial understandings of the affordances of chopsticks has been broadened. We imaged that we used chopsticks in our bedroom. It could work as a hair accessory to help us twist our hair in a bun and keep our hair out of our face when we could not find a hairpin. My friend thought it could also be a cable organizer for our headphone cables. By hanging the headphone cables on the chopsticks, it could help the cables well organized and make them easily accessible when we needed them. It could improve the messing up with headphone cables.
- 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.
In the manipulation of the object, I have wrapped the top of the two chopsticks and let my partner have a try. From her feedback, she said that she felt restricted and controlled when she used the manipulated chopsticks to pick up food. But it might be helpful for the beginners who learn to use chopsticks. Because of the fix of the top of the two chopsticks, it decreased the flexibility of the normal chopsticks which could make their use movement more stable.
In the manipulation of the user, I put three books on my partner’s right arm when she used her right hand to use chopsticks. Her right hand, together with the chopsticks in her hand, were shaking wildly because of the attached weights. It reminded us of the group of users whose arms always feel weak. It might be difficult for them to use chopsticks like other ordinary people.
The manipulation exercise takes a small insight into the possible interactions with chopsticks through exploring the affordances of the object. It helped us come up with many practical ideas and suggestions for user-friendly design. For example, particular groups of users might be attached importance to in the process of exploring affordances.