New Word: “Affordance”

Actually not a new word — I had encountered this once before in a book about why we would never completely rid ourselves of paper. The reason being that it offered “affordances” that digital screens never could.

A noun:

…a relation between an object or an environment and an organism that, through a collection of stimuli, affords the opportunity for that organism to perform an action.

For instance, paper has the affordance of being able to be easily passed around a room of people. Digital text does not currently have that (clearly, however, digital text has affordances of its own).

Found in The Organized Mind:

…[some stores] have made a business model out of [...] products which function as affordances for keeping wayward objects in their respective homes.