This chapter defines the term affordance, starting from its original use in an ecological context to its use in human-computer interactions (HCI). It then considers how the term can be used to describe the characteristics of technologies, along with illustrative examples. This chapter argues that the concept is valuable in that it accurately describes the ways in which the inherent characteristics of different technologies can be instantiated in different contexts and through the different preferences of individuals and how they interact with technologies. This chapter describes how the term affordances can be used to help develop a better understanding of the characteristics of different technologies and inform design decisions.
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