DOI link for Affordance Theory
Affordance Theory book
Affordances are opportunities for actions supported by an environment, and communicated through visual cues perceived by people in that environment. These cues are often determined by the surfaces, objects, and layout of the space. Affordance theory was first introduced by perceptual psychologist J. J. Gibson to explain how we perceive our environment and the actionable properties of the spaces around us. Subsequently, Donald Norman more fully investigated its relevance for design. Affordances are important in determining how the environment can be designed or manipulated to support (or discourage) various activities and experiences, and depend on the characteristics of an individual. This chapter synthesizes the research on affordances, explores the importance of designing appropriate cues to lead to various actions within a place, such as crossing the street, and highlights the difference between perceived and actualized affordances. The chapter concludes with a discussion of designing multiple affordances into one place in order to create better, more invigorating places that offer more opportunities for action to multiple people.