Performance Load

Question 1

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). 

In the words of Lidwell, Holden, and Butler, “The greater the effort to accomplish a task, the less likely the task will be accomplished successfully”. Performance load refers to the amount of mental and physical activity you put in to get something done. The higher the performance time, the higher the chance of errors to occur. There are two kind of loads that are involved when talking about performance loads, cognitive, and kinetic load.

Perception, memory, problem solving, are examples of cognitive load; the amount mental activity that is required to accomplish a goal (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2003). For example, computers are such a huge success because they reduce the cognitive load. When they first came aroud, users had to memorise many different codes and commands just to perform a simple task, while in comparison to today, all we need to do is browse from a selection of commands and choose as or what you please (Gains, 2013).

Kinematic load on the other hand, refers to the amount of physical activity; steps, movement, force, that you use to accomplish a goal. Physical activity should be decreased in order limit the chance of errors occurring. For example, when the morse code was created, a dot was used to symbolise E, a frequent letter, while  dash dash dot dash was used to represent Q, a letter that is rarely used. This meant that less action was required, which equivilates to less amount of errors occurring (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2003)

Question 2

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).

Chunking refers to the strategy that is used to improve memory performance, allowing the reader to easily remember and understand important information (Chambers, 2014). This technique involves taking chunks, ‘units of information’, and group them into larger numbers (Cherry, 2005). Chunking was first introduced by Harvard psychologist George A. Miller in the 1950s in “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two”, a landmark journal article. Here he explained how most people can only remember seven chunks of similar classified data. For example, the phone number 4711324 would be chunked into 471-1324.

Most phone keypads also consist of letters. This allows companies to assist the user in chunking information by using the corresponding numbers to spell out a certain word.

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