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Design Science Journal
Papers

Experiments Comparing Function Structures to Affordance Structures

Experiments Comparing Function Structures to Affordance Structures

Year: 2009

Section: Design Methods and Tools

Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.

Author: Maier, Jonathan R. A.; Sandel, Janna; Fadel, Georges M.

Section: Design Methods and Tools

Pages: 417-428

Abstract

The objective of the reported experiments is to quantify the differences between two different representations of a product: function structures commonly used in systematic engineering design, and affordance structures as developed by the authors in previous work. Four consumer products are analyzed using a product tear-down strategy, and function structures from the literature are utilized where available. System level, sub-system level, and component level function structures are studied for each product. Affordance structures and Affordance-Structure Matrices (ASMs) are also generated for each product. Comparisons are made between function structures and affordance structures at each level of abstraction based on the number and types of entities and number and types of flows in each representation. During the course of the experiments, additional metrics were added to the ASM including totaling helpful relationships, totaling harmful relationships, and calculating the percent difference between helpful and harmful relationships. Function structures were also formatted to show force flows as distinct from energy flows to reduce ambiguity.

Keywords: affordance, function, representation

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