Choose one of the objects you selected and describe how your initial understanding of its affordances changed over the course of the exercise?
This exercise was a good way to really notice why objects are designed in certain way. It was interesting to be forced to be aware of details, shapes, textures, pieces, even colors that give us information about what can be done with an object. A water bottle was one of the objects I used, it’s a simple object, so I wasn’t expecting to find many affordances on it, so I was surprised to find that it had curves indicating in which direction the cap must be turned to open the bottle, and also a dotted texture on the cap that makes evident the best place to hold it, the size of the bottle itself is the right size to be held in one hand by an adult person, the cap has a handle that is more narrow at the top, making it easier to hang or hold… it was humbling to see all the thinking that had gone into designing this everyday object.
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.
Manipulating the bottle to improve it was too hard, all I come up with was turning it into a flower pot by removing the cap, and asking my user to try to hold it using chopsticks, which was hard. That made me think on how important empathy in design is. A child wouldn’t have been able to hold this bottle with one hand, so that makes it unsuitable for them, that’s not a bad thing but if I was designing objects for people very different from me, like children or disabled people, I would have to be very careful not to overlook any difference between their experience with affordances and mine.
I also created a false affordance by adding a small wheel to a key, which made it look like a retractile key. even though my user knew that it wouldn’t work, she tried to turn the wheel when I asked her to interact with it, it’s interesting how we are so used to associate shapes -in this case the wheel- with possibilities -turning it-.
As a team we explored how to create new objects by combining the ones we had, and we came up with a compass made with scissors and a couple of pencils, where the scissors created the affordance of rotation…. and a sword-like game using chopsticks and rings where the shape of the rings gave us the affordance of inserting the chopsticks in them.
This class made me more aware of the way we are used to interact with things around us taking hints from their design. I´d like to explore how much of that comes from culture and how much comes with nature.