Course Description

Affordances are a key concept for designers. If you want to build products that are intuitive and easy to use, fully understanding the relationship between the human mind and technology is crucial. An “affordance” refers to the possibility of an action on an object; for instance, we say that an elevator button affords being pressed, and a chair affords being sat on. The concept was popularized by HCI (human-computer interaction) expert Don Norman in the late 1980s, and it has since played an essential role for user experience professionals and researchers. Understanding this term is essential for anyone who wants to get a deeper appreciation of what it means for a product to be “intuitive.”

Taking this course will teach you both the theory of affordances and also how to build instantly perceptible affordances into your own designs. Your users should be able to identify the actions afforded by a design with speed and accuracy. Thus, the better you can make your affordances, the more likely you will prevent the user from becoming frustrated (which can happen very quickly). In order to achieve this, you as a designer must appreciate how users perceive the world and how experience, context, culture, constraints and other factors affect our ability to detect the possibilities of actions on offer. This is at the heart of why those interested in a design career and established designers alike must gain a firm grounding in the meaning and potential application of affordances as a designer’s tool.

Throughout the course, we identify the major milestones in the evolution of the term “affordance” and outline how it applies to practical user experience (UX) design. Along the way, we look at the affordances of objects in the real world and screen-based interfaces so as to reinforce the concepts and principles covered in each lesson. You will soon realize how vital a solid grasp of affordances is—the name of the game is to make designs that users can take to naturally and without having to hesitate to ask themselves, “What happens if I do this?”.

What you will learn

  • The theory of affordance and its function in human-computer interaction
  • Gibson’s concept of affordances
  • Norman’s concept of affordances
  • How to distinguish between different types of affordances, such as real and perceived affordances
  • How to apply your knowledge of affordances so as to improve the usability of products
  • How visibility, findability, constraints, mapping, feedback, and conceptual models relate to affordances and affect usability

Who should take this course

This is an advanced-level course on design and usability, and it is targeted at designers and non-designers who are interested in how affordances affect usability:

  • UX designers seeking to gain in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge of affordances and how they affect usability
  • Project managers and software engineers looking to learn about how the affordances in a design can improve or impede its usability
  • Entrepreneurs who want to take a deep dive into how to design a product to be usable and intuitive
  • Newcomers to design who are considering to make a switch to UX design

Courses in the Interaction Design Foundation are designed to contain comprehensive, evidence-based content, while ensuring that the learning curve is never too steep. All participants will have the opportunity to share ideas, seek help with tests, and enjoy the social aspects afforded by our open and friendly forum.

Learn and work with a global team of designers

When you take part in this course, you will join a global multidisciplinary team working on the course and the exercises at the same time as you. You will work together to improve your skills and understanding. Your course group will be made up of an incredibly diverse group of professionals, all of whom have the same objective—to become successful designers. It’s your chance to learn, grow, and network with your peers across the planet.

Lessons in this course

Note: Lessons become available at a schedule of one lesson per week. Once a lesson becomes available, it is open for you forever — you can take all the time you want to go through each lesson. There is no time limit to finish a course, and you always have access to your classmates, course material, and your answers.

The estimated time to complete this course is a total of 6 hours 43 mins spread over 6 weeks.

Lesson 0: Welcome and Introduction

Available once you start the course. Estimated time to complete: 47 mins.

Lesson 1: An Introduction to Affordances

Available once you start the course. Estimated time to complete: 47 mins.

Lesson 2: Types of Affordance

Available anytime after Jul 01, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 35 mins.

Lesson 3: Bill Gaver's Concept of Affordances

Available anytime after Jul 08, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 3 mins.

Lesson 4: Rex Hartson's Concept of Affordances

Available anytime after Jul 15, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 13 mins.

Lesson 5: Affordances and Usability Principles

Available anytime after Jul 22, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 47 mins.

Lesson 6: A Summary of Affordances and Related Concepts

Available anytime after Jul 29, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 30 mins.

Lesson 7: Course Certificate, Final Networking, and Course Wrap-up

Available anytime after Aug 05, 2018.

  • 7.1: Course Evaluation (1 min)

Industry-trusted UX Course Certificate

You earn an industry-trusted Course Certificate once you complete the course - even if you finish the course after the official end date. In other words, as long as you have enrolled in the course you will always be able to finish it and to get a course certificate. You will also have permanent access to the course material, your answers and the discussions.

Course Certificates from the IDF are verifiable and trusted by industry leaders. You can highlight them on your resume, CV, LinkedIn profile or your website.

Course Certificate

Our courses and Course Certificates are trusted by these industry leaders, who have taken up company memberships with the IDF:

Accenture Adobe GE Philips SAP