Learning Portfolio 3 – Summary

As discussed in week 11’s article, Performance Load, the frustrations we may experience with the amount of physical and mental activity we devote to a mechanism or product, may vary from task to task due to variations in cognitive and kinematic load. (Lidwell, 2003).

Cognitive load is the mental activity we use in a task of problem solving, requiring us to accomplish a goal in minimal time. A good example of cognitive load would be computers and web design. Performance tests are often used in web design to determine the speed and capability people can navigate a web page. Load tests enable you to measure response times and utilisation levels, ‘and to identify the applicants breaking point, assuming that the breaking point occurs below the peak load condition’. (J.D. Meier, 2007). A more successful webpage would be one which diminishes cognitive load, where different categories of knowledge may be acquired, organised and stored in different ways.. ( Sweller, 2011).

Kinematic load is the physical activity required to accomplish a goal. Some strategies we can use to reduce kinematic load would be  minimizing steps, tasks, travel distances and making repetitive tasks automatic. (Lidwell, 2003). The basic principle is to reduce the amount of exertion one must endure, to accomplish a task.

Question two -Chunking.

Chunking is a way of consolidating data so someone can easily remember and recognize  information.  Chunking is a very important part of reducing cognitive load by separating relevant topics in to visual and memory cues.

In 1956, psychologist George A. miller formulated the chunk concept. His belief was that the working memory has limited capacity, and cognitive researchers claim that the capacity of working memory depends on the different types of information and the abilities of different people. (Malamed, C. 2009). So if our brain is too full of information, we simply won’t process the excess.

Therefore chunking is highly relevant to design and visual communication because our minds remember better visually and in relation to other things, so a well designed document or webpage will become more engaging and less daunting. Well formatted and thoughtfully designed content is important if to be remembered. So it is important to adhere to certain design principals such as a design’s usefulness, if it is understandable, aesthetic, thorough.. As Dieter Rams said, ” Good design is as little design as possible.” (Airey, D. 2010).

Question Three- Psychology in design.

To be a good designer, you need to have an understanding of psychology and human behaviour. As psychologist and designer Paul Davies said, ” Designers are actually psychologists who can draw.” ( 2011).

A designers purpose is to touch human emotion somehow and in order to do this, it is important to understand such principles of design such as reaction to colour and engagement through strong imagery and visuals. There are many theories involving psychology and design, such as the Gestalt theory which discusses ‘ organising visual elements in to groups and how the whole is often greater than it’s parts.’  (Anna R. Taylor, 2013).  This theory considers the cognitive way our minds process information, therefore making sense that design should be simple, symmetrical and visually arresting.

Item two – activity

The first product that satisfies the the design principal of performance load, would be the iPhone and it’s numerous organised categories. for example the contacts category which lessens the amount of cognitive load as the user doesn’t have to remember phone numbers to call someone. Kinetic load is reduced also, as steps to make a call are minimal. The information is also ‘chunked’ into one area, making it easily accessible.



The second product is the remote control for car keys.  Unlocking and locating your car is easy, fast and has become digitalised compared to fumbling in your bag and physically unlocking the car. .stock-vector-car-keys-modern-wireless-conventional-with-remote-control-and-keychain-alarm-110374040


The third product is a dishwasher. Reducing the need for hours of your time spent at the sink cleaning and stacking, the dishwasher is convenient and saves on water and detergent. A perfect modern day example of an old task being put into contemporary practice.Dishwasher-ratings




Ten principles for good design | David Airey, graphic designer. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.davidairey.com/design-principles/

Sweller, J., Ayres, P. L., & Kalyuga, S. (2011). Cognitive load theory.

Meier, J. D. (2007). Performance testing guidance for web applications: Patterns & practices. United States?: Microsoft.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Performance Load. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 148-149). Massachusetts: Rockport.

Chunking Information for Instructional Design. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/chunking-information/


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s