Literature/1988/Norman

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Norman, Donald (1988). The Design of Everyday Things (Originally titled The Psychology of Everyday Things (POET)).

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w: Affordance
  • In 1988, Donald Norman appropriated the term affordances in the context of human-machine interaction to refer to just those action possibilities that are readily perceivable by an actor. Through his book The Design of Everyday Things, this interpretation was popularized within the fields of HCI and interaction design. It makes the concept dependent not only on the physical capabilities of an actor, but also the actor's goals, plans, values, beliefs, and past experiences. If an actor steps into a room with an armchair and a softball, Gibson's original definition of affordances allows that the actor may throw the recliner and sit on the softball, because that is objectively possible. Norman's definition of (perceived) affordances captures the likelihood that the actor will sit on the recliner and throw the softball. Effectively, Norman's affordances "suggest" how an object may be interacted with. For example, the size and shape of a softball obviously fits nicely in the average human hand, and its density and texture make it perfect for throwing. The user may also bring past experiences to bear with similar objects (baseballs, perhaps) when evaluating a new affordance.

Related works[edit]

  • Gibson, Jame J. (1977). "The Theory of Affordances," pp. 67-82. In: Robert Shaw & John Bransford, eds. Perceiving, Acting, and Knowing: Toward an Ecological Psychology. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. [^]
  • Gibson, Jame J. (1979). The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. [^]
  • Norman, Donald (1988). The Design of Everyday Things (Originally titled The Psychology of Everyday Things (POET)). [^]

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