What is design affordance? Put simply it is the ability for us to recognize what something is or does by the way it looks. The most popular example affordance is the door knob, and how we recognize this object as the way to open the door. Looking further into this principle, we can start to design new ways of doing things building off of existing design affordances. For example, we do not have door knobs in commercial building, but rather a handle on the pull side of the door, and nothing on push side. We know, that when we see a door without any handle that we need to push. This simple design aspect flows into everything we do.

The software and the internet have design affordance also; the most known example is the blue underlined word. Any time we see a blue word with an underline we instinctively know that if we click another page will pop-up.

But what about virtual reality? What affordances do we have in this space? This is a very important question to us at Beyond Reality, because it dictates how enjoyable an experience will be. The answer to this affordance question is being worked on by us, and many others in the VR industry. Eventually there will be “standards” that people will “instinctually” recognize. Creating these standards has several challenges, including leveraging the existing common knowledge that people already have. One way to design is to use existing software affordances, like the blue underlined word, but we can also use all of the affordances in the real word like the door knob, this will work because VR is a digital 3D world. 

To give you more insight on this design process and see some of the items that need to be considered with creating a VR experience I would like to turn your attention to a great video that Mike Alger created speaking on this very subject. (Click on blue underlined word to open an embedded weblink. Wait, I don’t need to tell you that!)