Affordances and use plans : an analysis of two alternatives to function-based design

A.J.K. Pols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Function-based design approaches have been criticized for being too narrow to properly guide design. Specifically, they are said to be unable to cope with nonfunctional considerations, such as cost or maintenance issues without invoking other concepts, such as constraints. This paper investigates two alternative conceptualizations of the design process: the practical affordance-based design approach, as elaborated by Maier and Fadel, and the more theoretical use plan approach by Houkes and Vermaas. This paper compares function-, affordance-, and use plan-based design approaches. It highlights strengths and weaknesses of each approach and proposes a definition of the function of an artifact in terms of its affordances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-247
Number of pages9
JournalArtificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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