Performance Load.

Q.1) Lidwell, Holden & Butler have said that, “Performance load is the degree of mental and physical activity required to achieve a goal” (2010). Therefore, it could be said, that if the performance load expected is high, errors will increase which results in goals not being accomplished. On the other hand, if the performance load is low, the errors will decrease and the amount of goals accomplished will increase.

Performance load and be broken down into two different types; cognitive and kinematic.

Cognitive load is, “the amount of “Brain Power” required to understand something. This could be perception, problem solving or juggling things in memory” (Towers, 2010). By chunking information or tasks into smaller, more easily manageable, groups, the cognitive load is lowered.

Kinematic load depicts the degree of physical activity that is required to accomplish a task. Setting easier goals and making them simple, the kinematic load one faces is lowered. By doing this, the performance errors will be reduced and therefore allows the task to be performed quicker.

Reference List

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

Sweller, J., Ayres, P., & Kalyuga, S. (unknown). Cognitive Load Theory. Springer Science and Buisness Media.

Towers, A. (2010, November 22). Cognitive load. Retrieved from http://usabilityfriction.com/2010/11/22/cognitive-load/

Q.2) Chunking

The process of chunking information is done to reduce cognitive load. By doing so, the performance load is reduced and the task is easer to complete.

The way that our brain works, when trying to visually understand the information presented to us, it is easier if it is presented in small parts, or chunks, of information. When presented this way, we are more likely to concentrate and give our full attention as it is written in a simpler, reader friendly manner. If information is given to us like this, we don’t find it as overwhelming, or boring and it is broken up. Websites employ this chunking technique in the way that we are presented with banners, headings and subheadings. The information is often clear and concise; easy to read and take in. by using this technique, it also allows us to locate information within a piece of text faster as we scan our eyes across the page.  Another example of chunking is the way that numbers on debit and credit cards are displayed. These cards have sixteen digits and they have been chunked into four, four numbered chunks. This reduces the cognitive load and allows users to understand and recall the numbers with ease.

However, when using the chunking technique within design and visual communication, it does restrict the quality of the work. This is in the sense that it limits the creativity of the worker.

Q.3) Psychology.

When we are discussing design and visual communication, it is necessary to look at the study of psychology. It is a necessity because we are dealing with the way that humans minds work and function, which is, in essence, psychology. Performance load can be increased or decreased based on how much, or little, effort the participant wishes to put in. We have tools that allow us to make certain tasks more user friendly, and by doing so, performance on a particular task can be improved. By understanding psychology and the way that our mind works, tasks can be altered to fit these ideals which will result in more accomplishments.

Three Examples of Performance Load

1. Credit/Debit Card.

The Credit/Debit card is an example of cognitive load. As you can see below, there are sixteen numbers printed on the card. The chunking technique is used and groups these numbers into four chunks, making it easier to read and recall these numbers. this makes the task easier and therefore reduced the performance load.

This is a credit/debit card.

2. ECU Library Catalogue.

Through the use of an online catalogue, we can see a decrease in both Cognitive and Kinematic load. Students and Staff are able to search the database at home, uni or wherever they have Internet access. There is a reduction of cognitive load in the way that the database is clear and easy to use. The Kinematic load is reduced greatly as there is no to physically be on the campus to determine whether or not a book is available. With the introduction of online books, users sometimes don’t even need to set foot in a library, they can read the texts from the comfort of their homes.

Screen cap of the library catalogue

3. Car Production Line.

The below image depicts the making of a new car. It shows the production line and displays how it is made. They have broken up the task into many smaller steps. Each person has their own job, and their own task that is required in order to complete the car. With the introduction of machines, these tasks have become even simpler.

Car production line.

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