Affordances and Cognitive Walkthrough for Analyzing Human-Virtual Human Interaction

  • Zsófia Ruttkay
  • Rieks op den Akker
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5042)


This study investigates how the psychological notion of affordance, known from human computer interface design, can be adopted for the analysis and design of communication of a user with a Virtual Human (VH), as a novel interface. We take as starting point the original notion of affordance, used to describe the function of objects for humans. Then, we dwell on the human-computer interaction case when the object used by the human is (a piece of software in) the computer. In the next step, we look at human-human communication and identify actual and perceived affordances of the human body and mind. Then using the generic framework of affordances, we explain certain essential phenomena of human-human multimodal communication. Finally, we show how they carry over to the case of communicating with a ’designed human’, that is an VH, whose human-like communication means may be augmented with ones reminiscent of the computer and fictive worlds. In the closing section we discuss and reformulate the method of cognitive walkthrough to make it applicable for evaluating the design of verbal and non-verbal interactive behaviour of VHs.


Affordance theory virtual humans embodied conversational agents cognitive walkthrough HCI 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zsófia Ruttkay
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rieks op den Akker
    • 1
  1. 1.HMIUniversity of TwenteThe Netherlands
  2. 2.ITKPázmány Péter Catholic UniversityHungary

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