Elevator Buttons – Affordances

Design concept: Affordances

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The Wi-Fi page in Settings designed by Apple is a great example of a feature that implements the design concept of Affordances successfully. In order to turn on wifi a user can either swipe the button or tap it. When WiFi is not on, it will be grayed out, and when it is on, there will be a green indication and the WiFi options will show. This makes it so obvious and intuitive to the user how to turn on and off WiFi.

Violation of affordances example:

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This example shows a violation of affordances. Obviously all of these are the elevator buttons that you are accustomed to seeing. However, most people cannot tell the difference between the buttons with the arrows in one direction and the button with the same arrows but with a line in between. There is not a good way to decipher one button’s meaning from the other. Most would assume that it opens/closes the elevator doors, but which button will do the job?

After doing some research I found that one of the buttons is for open the rear doors of the elevator, and the other is for opening the front doors of the elevator. A simple way to implement the design principle of affordances would be to have the buttons for the rear doors on the other side of the elevator.

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If for some reason it is not possible to put some buttons on the other side, the designers could simply put text on the buttons as well, though I think the first proposed solution is more intuitive.

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About the author: lexieschachne

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