Proposing to teach cultural affordance to industrial design students

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Abstract
As initiators of product creation, industrial designers are expected to facilitate the communication of the products’ physical and non-physical attributes to users in a self-explanatory way. In other words, the products that they create should “afford” conversation with their intended users using the visual semantics and symbolic language of the design. “Cultural affordance” refers to the perceived possibilities for interacting with a particular object or environment in the physical world, which could be directly or indirectly influenced by the cultures of both the users and the designers. The influential norms within one’s social group and day-to-day lifestyle can be significant determinants of how an individual would comprehend and use a designed object. Our own mental models, formed through years of living within a society, also shape our expectations of how to engage with a product. Thus if we want products to afford usability and to facilitate a pleasurable involvement, then designers should design with an inclusive understanding of the user’s culture, experiences and knowledge. This paper concludes with a proposal for a full-semester subject, suggested to inculcate among young industrial designers the sensitivity to the close links between design and culture.
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Razzaghi, Mohammad
Ramirez, Mariano Jr
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Publication Year
2010
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Conference Paper
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download CONNECTED2010-021-CulturalAffordance3.pdf 215.01 KB Adobe Portable Document Format
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