Affordances in Activity Theory and Cognitive Systems Engineering

Hans H. K. Sønderstrup-Andersen, H. Albrechtsen, S. Bødker, Annelise Mark Pejtersen

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportRapportForskning


For the last decade, the Gibsonian concept of affordances has attracted
much attention within Human-Machine Interaction (HMI) and related
research communities. The application of Gibson’s ideas in HMI has lead to the
notion of direct manipulation of interface objects. Previously, the focus has
been on design for low level interaction modalities. To incorporate the concept
of affordances in the design of human computer interaction it is necessary to
systematically unravel affordances that support human action possibilities. Furthermore, it is a necessity that Gibson’s theory of affordances is supplemented
by careful analyses of other human modalities and activities than visual perception.
Within HMI two well established perspectives on HMI, Activity Theory
(AT) and Cognitive Systems Engineering (CSE), have discussed such analyses
and design of action possibilities focusing on providing computer support for
work situations. Within these perspectives, the primary unit of analysis in HMI
is human work activity and the socio-cultural context in which this activity is
carried out. Thus, they emphasise the actors’ purposeful activity as the most important design rationale. According to previous views in HMI, notably those
that have been put forward by Norman and Gaver, affordances are in the foreground, whereas the system or work area is in the background. AT and CSE
share the view that the actors’ perception of foreground and background shifts
dynamically according to the actors’ situational context in purposeful activity.
AT and CSE follow the original notion by Gibson on the actor’s dynamic shifting
between foreground and background of the environment. Furthermore, their
work- and actor-centred approach to analysis and design of information systems
opens up to an extension of Gibson’s original ideas to cover deeper semantic
and pragmatic aspects of the ecology of work, as compared with the previous
applications of Gibson’s theory in HMI.
ForlagDanmarks Tekniske Universitet, Risø Nationallaboratoriet for Bæredygtig Energi
Antal sider38
ISBN (Trykt)87-550-2927-2
ISBN (Elektronisk)87-550-2928-0
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2001
Udgivet eksterntJa

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