In the discipline of IxD, the word has been used to define a possible
action perceived by a user within some environment (Norman 1988). In the
classic example, the affordance of a door with a flat metal plate is
"push." The affordance resolves to a verb, an action to be performed.
However, of late, I've seen the word used loosely to describe the clues
that suggest an object's possible actions. Applied in a colloquial sense
to the classic example above, the "affordance" is the flat metal plate.
Another example of this usage would be gloss applied to the visual
design of a UI button. The gloss itself is the affordance, as opposed to
the action "click".
I'm curious as to the community's opinion on this matter. How do you use
the word in your day to day discussions? Is it appropriate to use the
term both ways?