Function-based design is the traditional approach in engineering design theory, proving useful and practical in many cases but showing limitations in others. Affordance-based design is an alternative approach that attempts to address some of function theory’s limitations by focusing attention on the interactions between systems. This paper compares function-based design with affordance-based design by examining their philosophies, tools, abilities, and suitability along a number of dimensions. We conclude that the approaches are compatible and suggest future work to realize their integration.

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