Q: Choose one of the objects you selected and describe how your initial understanding of its affordances changed over the course of the exercise?
A: The object I choose is coffee filter paper. I started with the most obvious affordance – as it is made by paper which is with great flexibility and variability to afford cutting, rubbing and re-shaping, that formed my first 3 ideas. Then I identified it is thiner than normal A4 paper which made it pervious to lights, based on that it could be used as lampshade. Then we started to exchange ideas with classmates and match different things together to discover more hidden affordance, we talked about it could afford pressing, protecting from heat, drawing, feeling(the roughness) and etc. Far from the initial understandings of its obvious affordances, when we went further with the exercise we thought of more recessive traits to serve for unconventional use and design.
“The essence of an affordance is that it points both ways to the object and to the organism. An affordance is an emergent property of an object. The affordance is there, it has always been there, but it needs to be perceived to be realised. ” –Michael Hammond, 2010
Q: 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.
A: I believe all the affordance of an existed item are already there, it depends on our observability, perceptual ability to identify them.
I could imagine people have different culture background and previous experience of encountering with this certain item or its related items would affect the discovery results. Moreover, under different circumstances we might use the same item differently, my process of reading the affordances out of one item is to imagine using this item in variable situations and to cross check this item with other random items to dig out more affordances by comparison.
I think I would be benefited from identifying affordance of an item as it would give me a better vision of its constrains and opportunities. So as a designer I can work on the constrains to make changes and play with the opportunities to widen up the design scope.