Video Content

UX concepts — Affordances, Perceived Affordances, and Signifiers explained with examples

Affordances vs. perceived
affordances, what’s the difference?

Hi! I’m Fred Mercedes and welcome to accessible bits. Today we are going to learn  about affordances and perceived affordances.

Affordances are aspects of an object a product or a website that allows us to
perform specific actions.

This is a door, a door’s affordance is that it opens inward and outward.

Just by being a door, people perceive this to be the case, even if it doesn’t have a doorknob
or a handle to signify it. If there are no signifiers on the door, we perceive it as having two affordances, inward or outward.

if you place a doorknob or a handle on the door( a signifier), it should be clear that you can grab the handle and pull it to open outwards.

Perceived affordances are what we think an object can do, which can be correct or incorrect.

An object might lead you to believe that you can do something when in reality you cant. Which is why people
call the concept perceived affordances.

In Interface design, it is essential clearly mark the perceived affordances of elements.

If you give users the wrong cues, they become frustrated and have a terrible user experience.

The interface must provide cues, and perceived affordances, otherwise you will fail.

For example, users might think a picture is just a decoration rather than the link that is supposed to be, and also an image might look
interactive when the reality is that is not.

Something you can do is align your designs with cues from real-life objects to help increase your usability.

You could add shadows to buttons to signify clickability just in the same way that you can add underline
to links to signify clickability.

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I am looking forward to seeing you in the next video,

I’m Fred Mercedes, and this was your accessible bit!