Traditional Affordance as a Vestige

I liked Matt Gemmell’s take on iOS 7. The point that lingered with me was his take on traditional cues for affordance, suggesting they’re a design vestige:

In the field of user experience, there’s a huge and unhelpful overemphasis on similarity, familiarity, and the ability to formally reason about interfaces. People are more nuanced. We respond based not only on experience or reason, but also on emotion and intuition.

Too many interfaces run immediately to the well-worn toolbox of simulation and explicitness, imposing a cognitive straitjacket not only on the user, but also the designer. We too easily forget that the only thing that matters to people are their goals: their own tasks, and content. With limited attention, we want to devote our focus to what’s important, rather than distractions and artifice masquerading as design traditions.

I can’t say I fully agree. If affordance were a color, I’d saturate everything with it.

Jun 15 2013