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

When using the scissors,my initial understanding of the affordances changed when we taped together our hands. The circular cutouts in the handles were no longer of use, which required us to pinch the handles with the ends of our fingers. This reduced stability and made the cutting process very difficult. With the only affording aspect of the scissors removed, they were near impossible to use effectively. The affordances changed as we changed our ability to use them. Most of the time we would drop the scissors or do a poor job of cutting. Apart from the finger cutouts, there was no easy way to manipulate the scissors, was interesting to see how much we relied on this affordance alone.

2. 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.

By reducing affording abilities of the objects, but also our ability to interact with object affordances, we learnt that there needs to be a match between object and user. This was evident with the scissors – if we taped up the holes we couldn’t cut. Likewise if we taped our fingers together we couldn’t use the holes. Similarly, we attempted to augment our nose and use it as a pointing device instead. This proved tricky. but also revealed hidden insights, in that when manipulating a user interface with our nose, we couldn’t actually see what we were manipulating! This hidden insight was only identifiable through this exercise. This inspired me to consider the dual-nature of affordances, and to attempt to design things in a way that works for as many users as possible. For example, taps that don’t require finger movement to grip, but instead automatic taps or at very least taps with a large free-moving handle (that you can move with your elbow). In addition to this, the TV remove became difficult to operate with the nose only, in terms of having it pointing in the correct direction whilst you use it. Finally, objects like the toothbrush or comb were only affordable when blindfolding ourselves because of their long smooth edges that afforded gripping. When gripped in this way, the usage of the object came naturally – eg the comb was facing in the correct direction. this wasn’t the case with the toothbrush handle – it could be gripped the wrong way and you wouldn’t know which way the brush was facing if you were blind – however this unidirectional handling is required for brushing both upper and lower teeth. Perhaps a way to tell which way its facing for visually impaired users so they don’t need to feel for the bristles? (and dirty the brush).

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