Affordance is just the technical term for something that an object allows you to do, a "use" of the object. For example, an affordance of a stapler is stapling things together. Stapling is its primary affordance since that's what it was designed to do. However, it can also be used as a paperweight: that is one of its secondary affordances. Secondary affordances are typically hard to notice because once you know the primary affordance your mind stops analyzing the object. Another type of affordance is a combined affordance. This is an affordance that arises when two objects are used together. A key to mastering the use of an object is to learn to use its secondary and combined affordances.

John LeFlohic February 10, 2003 Last Updated May 4, 2010