• Sára Kordová

UX; Affordence vs signifiers. Did you get lost a little? Dont worry here is short quide

Aktualizováno: 20. kvě 2020


If we understand affordance as described by James Gibson (1977, 1979), we are talking about the possibilities of using the object. The object has many possibilities of use and it depends on who decides to use it. We can look at the world as a complete environment in which everyone has different opportunities. There is no difference in culture. Each creature is treated as an animal seeking a means of survival. Affordances are perceived directly.

Donald Norman used the term affordance which introduced Gibson and used it in connection with HCI. (Donald Norman, 1988) It is a function of the object that the user discovers in the object. It is therefore essential for the designer to work not only with affordance but also with perceptual information that leads the user to use the object. In relation to perceptual information, the affordance of the object may be false affordance (we can see perceptual information, but this information does not lead to right affordance), perceptible affordance ( we can see perceptual information, that leads us to right affordance), hidden affordance (we can not see perceptual information, but the affordance is there) and correct rejection (we can not see perceptual information and affordance is not there).


Donald Norman further discussed the way the object speaks to the user through sound, visual elements, marks and any other information. He called those informations signifiers. (Donald Norman 2008) Signifiers are important in the design process mainly because they help us to better understand the relationship between the tool and the user. What the item offers is important, but what the user sees in it is more important. Especially in the field of HCl. Therefore, Donal Norman considers Signifiers more fundamental than affordances eventually.

For more detail info read Kaptelinin, Victor & Nardi, Bonnie. (2012). Affordances in HCI: Toward a mediated action perspective. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings.

If you are not familiar with those terms at all watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuAunX40rZw

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