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Perceived Affordance : Jargon Buster

We know that a visitor will form strong impressions about your website within the first few seconds of arriving. How long it took to load, whether the design suits their tastes and how closely the content appears to match what they’re searching for. These are just some of the contributing factors. Part of these initial impressions wil include what we call Perceived Affordance. The result will likely determine what your visitor does next.

What assumptions might a visitor make about how the design works and how will that affect their interactions with it?

Applied to website design, perceived affordance concerns the likely assumptions and expectations a user will have about how they can interact with your site. Again a myriad of contributing factors come into play, from the device being use to access to the user’s previous experience using other websites.

As designers concerned with building intuitive user experiences we need to consider the perceived affordances in our designs. What assumptions might a visitor make about how the design works and how will that affect their interactions with it?

Over time design conventions are established and these can be pressed into action to make our websites more intuitive. For example, colouring linked text differently from flat copy is something with which the majority of website users will be familiar.

So next time you’re reviewing a wireframe or testing a live site ask yourself: What is the likely perceived affordance of this UI element and the design as a whole and how might that change based on the context in which the design is being accessed?

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Nick Barron

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Nick Barron

In his role as UX Director Nick ensures that everything we do reflects a clear understanding of our clients’ aims as well the expectations of their audiences.