affordances and constraints

2011-11-18 @ 00:55#

How can design signal the appropriate actions? ... One important set of signals comes through the natural constraints of objects, physical constraints that limit what can be done. Another set of signals comes from the affordances of objects, which convey messages about their possible uses, actions, and functions. ... Affordances suggest the range of possibilities, constraints limit the number of alternatives. The thoughtful use of affordances and constraints together in design lets a user determine readily the proper course of action, even in a novel situation.

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman, pg 82