David Ing surface this, saying:
The cybernetics tradition has been described as outmoded by the “perceptual ecology” of J.J. Gibson with affordances, says Erica Robles Anderson (NYU) and Scott Ferguson (U. South Florida).
Cybernetics has long been narrated as the paradigm that shaped human-computer interactions. Perceptual ecology reveals another path, equally foundational but ontologically distinct. Perceptual ecology is not concerned with signals, feedback loops, or uncertainty. It theorizes a sensory-rich, ever-changing world inhabited by animate perceivers. The terrain is a substance. The ground is a surface primordially differentiated from the sky at the horizon. The atmosphere is an immersive, boundless medium. Animate perceivers do not receive bits of information through discrete channels. Instead, they register the constant flux of light on surface as an “ambient optical array.” Persistent sensory information is called “invariance” and it corresponds to the “solid angles” in a shifting world.
“The Visual Cliff: Eleanor Gibson and the Origins of Affordance” | Erica Robles Anderson & Scott Ferguson | April 2022 at https://moneyontheleft.org/2022/04/19/the-visual-cliff-eleanor-gibson-the-origins-of-affordance/
By Erica Robles Anderson & Scott Ferguson
Originally presented at Hidden Histories: Gender in Design, Design History Society Seminar, April 14, 2022.
Part I: TED Talks and Teapots
In a 2003 TED Talk titled “Three Ways Design Makes You Happy,” Donald Norman announced that “The new me is beauty.” Norman – a professor, design firm principal, and the first Vice President of User Experience at Apple – ranks among the most influential figures in the field of user experience design. Yet above all, he is associated with the concept of “affordance,” an invented term now widely employed to refer to the forms and features of any useful thing.
Norman brokered the term from psychology to design in his 1988 book The Psychology of Everyday Things. Citing J.J. Gibson’s 1979 book The Ecological Theory of Perception as his source, he offered this definition: “The affordances of the environment are…
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