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Affordances

Category
Design
Related
Poka-Yoke
Affordances

Definition

An object or system's properties that show the possible actions that can take be taken with it, thereby suggesting how they may interact with that system or object. For example, a button can look as if it needs to be turned or pushed, those characteristics communicating its affordances.

Origin

Coined by James J. Gibson in his 1966 book, "The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems."

Everyday Use

It's easiest to _affordances _in design and computers, but it's really all around us — how we navigate through our daily habits, how we start or break habits, and how we interact with everyone and everything. I like to use an affordance lens to help guide my daily life in the direction that syncs with my goals — running shoes unlaced and ready to slip into, or a phone charging overnight across the room to decrease distraction, for example.