A Case Study of Affordance and Affordance Feature Identification through User Observation

DS 58-2: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 2, Design Theory and Research Methodology, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Kim, Yong Se; Kim, Min Kyoung; Jeong, Ji Yun; Park, Jin A
Series: ICED
Section: Design Theory and Research Methodology
Page(s): 453-464


This paper investigates the relationships between affordances and affordance features, which are very critical to conveniently allow human activities or behaviors under given tasks. Affordance features are structural elements of the environment where the tasks are conducted that are closely related to affordances. We conducted a case study in a public space - a building lobby - used by many general people. User activities and behaviors were analyzed in several specific tasks given to twenty participants in the lobby of a building they have never visited before. Then we identified affordances and building structure elements, called affordance features, critically related to those affordances. The affordance features have hierarchical nature, ranging from areas to detailed attributes. Affordance-feature map obtained from user activity studies could be used in developing a repository for affordance based design so that specific affordance features could be retrieved in support of certain affordances.

Keywords: Affordance, Affordance Feature, User Activity, User Observation


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