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on Norman on Affordances.

in the design of future things, norman clarifies his updated view on affordances:

“It started off with an e-mail: Clarisse de Souza, a professor of informatics in Rio de Janeiro wrote to disagree with my definition of “affordance.”  “Affordance,” she told me, “is really communication between the designer and the user of a product.”  “No,” I wrote back.  “An affordance is simply a relationship that exists in the world: it is simply there.  Nothing to do with communication.”

I was wrong.  She was not only right, but she got me to spend a delightful week in Brazil, convincing me, then went on to expand upon her idea in an important book, Semiotic Engineering.  I ended up a believer: “Once designs are thought of as shared communication and technologies as media, the entire design philosophy changes radically, but in a positive and constructive way,” is what I wrote about the book for its back cover.”

–Norman, The Design of Future Things, pp. 66-67

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