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Categorizing Affordances for Product Design

[+] Author Affiliations
Jun Hu, George M. Fadel

Clemson University, Clemson, SC

Paper No. DETC2012-70933, pp. 325-339; 15 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 9th International Conference on Design Education; 24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4506-6
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


To compensate for the inability of the functional descriptions to describe for instance interactions between users and artifacts, the term affordance has been introduced in design methodology by Maier and Fadel. However, some significant details of affordance such as representation, categorization, and application to mechanical design still need to be further studied. Therefore, this paper reviews and compares the use of the term affordance in the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Artificial Intelligence (AI), design, psychology, and philosophy. Based on that review, a new categorization scheme of affordances applicable for product design is proposed. The categories including doing and happening Artifact-Artifact Affordances (dAAA and hAAA), doing and happening Artifact-Environment Affordances (dAEA and hAEA), and doing and happening Artifact-User Affordances (dAUA and hAUA) are identified and an initial statistical evaluation is performed to support this proposal. The detailed description of these affordances provides better coverage, more orthogonality, more depth, and could be more usable, eventually meeting the requirements of a taxonomy.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
Topics: Product design



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