Hierarchical Affordance Modeling

DS 58-5: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 5, Design Methods and Tools (pt. 1), Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Maier, Jonathan R. A.; Mocko, Gregory; Fadel, Georges M.
Series: ICED
Section: Design Methods and Tools
Page(s): 397-404


The theory of affordances has been adapted by the authors into a comprehensive high-level approach to design known as affordance based design. One of the features that distinguishes the affordance based approach from function based approaches is that affordances are form dependent . Designers can take advantage of this property during conceptual design by analyzing how well the form (or structure) of individual concepts satisfy the desired and undesired (positive and negative) affordances for the project. In other work, we have introduced a matrix based tool called the Affordance Structure Matrix (ASM). However, in the products we have studied to date, typically the desired and undesired affordances at the system level are mapped to individual parts at the component level. Our focus in this paper is utilizing the ASM to study how the satisfaction of affordances propagates hierarchically upward from the component level to the sub-system level, and finally system level. A hair-dryer is used as an example system to demonstrate the approach.

Keywords: affordance, hierarchy, modeling


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