LP3- Performance Load

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

Performance load is can be defined as “a degree of mental and physical activity required to achieve a goal,” (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010). The mental activity is cognitive and the physical activity is kinematic.

When performance load is high it means that, there’s a higher chance to have errors occur and the performance time also takes more time. Your chances of effectively completing a task decreases. (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010)

Therefore its opposite when a performance load is low, the time and errors are lowers as your chances of completing task improves. (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010)

Cognitive load is can be defined as ‘the mental burden that performing a task imposes on the cognitive system..’ (Antonenko , 2007)

Within cognitive load, there are three kinds: Intrinsic Cognitive Load, Extraneous cognitive load, and Germane Cognitive Load. (Usability: cognitive load, 2010)

As well as a renowned rule that allows us to handle seven plus or minus two pieces of information at one time, this is called the magic number 7. “We can improve the usability of our products by taking this in to account and reducing the cognitive load for our users.” (Usability: cognitive load, 2010)

Kinematic load is using physical labour to finish a task. Lidwell, Holden, & Butler use the telegram as an example and explained that it “required people to communicate letters on at a time through a series of taps on a mechanical armature,” (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010).

Reference List
Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal Principles of Design, United States: Rockport Publishers Inc.
Usability: cognitive load. (2010). Available from
Antonenko,PD. (2007) The Effect of Leads on Cognitive Load and Learning in a Conceptually Rich Hypertext Environment


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

Chunking as Lidwell, Holden & Butler explained is a “technique of combing units of information into limited number of units or chunks, so that the information is easier to process and remember.” (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2003). Chunking actually is an element of information in short term memory. Chunking can also be describes in terms of memorizing; by separating different individual elements into big blocks, information becomes easier to remember. (Psychology: chunking, 2012). The example that (Psychology: chunking, 2012) uses was numbers, sequence of 4-7-1-1-3-2-4 would be chunked into 471-1324.

Chunking relates to design and visual communication as the whole chunking technique is most designers purpose: trying to fit as much information in as possible, while still looking visually appealing and also making sure that audiences remember the information you put out. The chunking technique “seeks to accommodate short term memory limits by formatting information into a small number of units,” (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2003).

This means that individual’s short term memory is negatively affecting the mind, and making them forget how to finish tasks. The brain becomes lazy, and aren’t able to be challenged with new designs and tasks. Their workload becomes boring and tedious. Chunking seems like it’s beneficial in short term, however with long term there’s a lot of costs.

Reference List
Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal Principles of Design, United States: Rockport Publishers Inc.
Psychology: chunking. (2012). Available from


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)?

Psychology is important in reference to design because behind every design is a message and a meaning, no designer creates anything without some kind of symbolism. Therefore it’s not only important to know think about psychology and the workings of the human brain but also to test your audience.
“Design is in everything we make, but it’s also between those things. It’s a mix of craft, science, storytelling, propaganda, and philosophy” ( 1stwebdesigner: quote, 2012)

Also in relation to the message, are the principles that help emphasis the message such as hierarchy. How did artists know that hierarchy determines the path the viewer’s eye takes without know about Psychology.

Reference List
1stwebdesigner: quote. (2012). Retrieved 3rd June http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/inspiration/designer-quotes-mindsets-inspiration/

Activity) 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.

ITunes menu is a type of cognitive load as its categorises the different forms of media that iTunes offer; music, movie, TV shows, podcasts, books, apps, tones, and radio. The makes it easier on users to guide themselves through iTunes and no has to stretch their memory too broad. Users also can customise how they view their music, which makes it more personal per user. Also playlists are available, more customisation. ITunes really does allow the users to personalise the program so that the user’s now their way around and that they’ve created their own memory placement cues.

(Downloadatoz: itunes snap shot, 2012)

Credit Card

Credit cards also uses cognitive load, with the number display; using “chunking” 16 digits, that could of easily been written together, is separated into four units of four digits. This makes things easier for users who need to read the digits out for payments. The numbers look clearer.

(84card: Credit Card, 2012)

Remote keys
Remote Keys decrease kinematic load as it reduces the physical labor of locking every car door. With a simple press of a button, people can lock and unlock their cars from great distances.

(Sxc: Car Keys,2009)

Reference List
Downloadatoz: itunes snap shot. (2012).Available from
84card:Credit Car.(2012). Available from
Sxc: Car Keys [photograph]. (2009). Available from


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