LP3: Week 11

Q1)  In your own words, write a summary of the article and provide critical analysis/discussion on the topic(s) of the article (150 – 200 words).

  • You must conduct research into the topic(s) to obtain further information and gain a betterunderstanding of the topic (minimum of 2 books and 2 online resources – Wikipedia is NOTaccepted).
  • You must provide in‐text and end‐text references.
  • You should exercise your understanding of paraphrasing and direct quoting.

A degree of mental and physical activity required to achieve a specific goal is also known as performance load (Lidwell et al, 2010)

Performance load can be further broken down into two groups: Cognitive Load and Kinematic Load. Lidwell et all defines cognitive load as “the amount of mental activity required to accomplish a goal (perception, memory and problem solving)”. The authors then go on to define kinematic load as the degree of physical activity – number of steps, movements or amount of force that is required to accomplish a goal.

Graphical User Interfaces or more commonly known as GUI’s (goo-ee’s) have reduced the cognitive load when using a computer. Prior to GUI’s a computer operator would have to battle with the command line interface (CLI) in order to perform even the simplest tasks, that we often take for granted on today’s technologically advanced systems (doctordistribution, 2011).

An example of kinematic load would be email replacing the traditional snail mail mailing system. Prior to electronic mail one would have to write letters or cards by hand, nowadays we can simply send an electronic version of a letter or card. These tech advancements have reduced the amount of physical activity immensely, in the essence that we no longer have to use paper, envelopes, stamps, drop the letter off at the post office and then wait for it to be delivered by the postman.

Q2)  The authors mentioned a design technique of “chunking” information to reduce cognitive load. Define and describe the chunking technique in relation to design and visual communication (250 – 300 words).
• You are encouraged to use the references collected for this week’s learning portfolio to complete this question.

Chunking is the process of grouping long bits of information into smaller more manageable groups in order for it to be remembered and committed to memory more efficiently. The most common example of this process would be breaking up a mobile number into smaller bite sized chunks. For example; when breaking down the following number 0444919456, it is much easier to memorize or say out loud if we group (chunk) the numbers into smaller more manageable sets. In this case we could read out the number like this 0444 ..pause.. 919 ..pause.. 456. According to Miller the proposed maximum that should be chunked is seven +/- two, so we can break down chunks into five to seven digits. An example of when to use the chunking method in design would be when information does not need to memorised . Search engine results only need to be quickly scanned and are stored on external servers, therefore do not require chunking (Harrod, 2008).

“Chunking, when applied in its proper context is a subtle but powerful design principle that can help improve the overall usefulness of systems. The primary goal of chunking is to help in situations where the commitment of information to working memory is required” (Harrod, 2008).

Q3) The authors borrowed ideas traditionally studied by the psychology to discuss effective visual design. Why do you think a study of psychology is necessary (or not necessary) in design (100 – 150 words)?

  • You are encouraged to use the references collected for this week’s learning portfolio to complete this question. 
There is a lot more involved with design than just pretty colours and fancy fonts. While there is a considerable link between a creators work and their own psychology, the purpose of great design is to appeal to your target audience. Marlow’s hierarchy of need is just one of the many frameworks available that can be used as a visual aide to better understand your audience’s requirements and help to better target your designs to the appropriate user base (Johnson, 2011).

Provide 3 visual examples of products or artefacts (found in everyday surroundings) that satisfy the design principle of Performance load. Upload them on your blog site with a brief explanation why the products satisfied the design principle.

Car KeysRemote control keyless entry reduces kinematic load by taking away the need to remove your car keys (FOB) from your pocket and unlock the door. Some of the newer cars even have push button keyless starting of the vehicle, therefore eliminating the need to remove the FOB from your pocket at all just to start the car.


Both subcategories of performance load have been significantly reduced with the introduction of the bar code. Previously a cashier attendant would need to manually type in a product code in order to bring up the item information and pricing. With the advancements of barcodes and scanners, now they are able to scan the unique code and all the required info will be presented on the register’s screen.

TabletThe use of a Wacom stylus with a compatible tablet allows to have the comfort of writing in an analog format and still have a digital version handy to send off if required. Various software enhancement allow for handwritten text to be converted into typed fonts. Both cognitive and kinematic loads are reduced as you no longer need to rely on the analog systems of paper and pen. This setup also eliminates the need to retype or scan handwritten analog notes and you are not limited to a single copy.


Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal principles of design. Massachusetts: Rockport Publishers.

Principles of design #36 – performance load. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.doctordisruption.com/design/principles-of-design-36-performance-load/

Harrod, M. (2008). Chunking. Retrieved from http://www.interaction-design.org/encyclopedia/chunking.html

Johnson, J. (2011). Design meets psychology: Putting maslow’s hierarchy of needs to work. Retrieved from http://designshack.net/articles/business-articles/design-meets-psychology-putting-maslows-hierarchy-of-needs-to-work/


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