Performance Load is the degree to which mental or physical effort is required to accomplish a goal. If Performance load is high, then the likelihood of the goal being accomplished successfully is low. If the performance load is low, then the likelihood of accomplishing the task successfully is high.
There are two types of Performance Load: Cognitive and Kinematic.
Cognitive load is defined by the degree of mental effort required to successfully accomplish a goal.
Kinematic load is defined by the degree of physical effort required to successfully accomplish a goal.
Good design should endeavour to embody a low performance load to effective usage ratio, thus increasing the useability of the product.
Chunking is a strategy that the brain can employ in order to break down information into bite-sized pieces so we can more easily comprehend new information, especially when it is presented in large amounts. We do this because there is a limit to how much information the human brain can hold at one time in what is called working memory, a place where information is manipulated and digested before reaching a decision. A good analogy would be the cache system in a computer.
“The use of chunks explains how greater knowledge can lead to an increased ability to extract information from the environment, in spite of constant cognitive limitations” (Gobet, 2001).
George A. Miller formulated the chunk concept in 1956 and although he posited then that the human brain could hold up to seven pieces of information at the one time, it is now thought that the number is closer to four or five pieces of information. The type of information that is being held also has an influence on its capacity to be stored. In addition, an individual may be better equipped to store certain types of information depending on their unique mental abilities.
“In a similar way to its application in chess, it is possible to apply the chunking theory to more general areas of education” (Gobet, 2001).
Chunking comes into play when addressing the performance parameters associated with Cognitive load. It is the act of organizing and presenting information as easily recognizable groups, so that the audience can understand and process your information quickly and clearly.
The effectiveness of visual design relies upon the first visual impressions received by the brain. Therefore it is logical to look at existing psychological research into the function of the brain and its response to visual stimulation in particular. The presentation of information must be clear for it to be quickly and agreeably understood. It is empirically recognised that visual elements such as colour, boldness and an effective use of negative space are psychological factors.
Visual design cannot rely upon research from the school of psychology alone. Aesthetics represent a field of study that is informed by traditions in art and culture but is also evolving continually. Market research can yield a more personal viewpoint and benefit design outlook with a more specific direction.
Learning Portfolio Item 2 (Activity)
Visual examples that satisfy the design principle of Performance Load
1. Ergonomic Keyboard
This is a keyboard for the novice computer user. It organises the keys by colour coding them into groups of vowel, numbers, etc.
2. Credit Card
A credit card number is presented in groups, or chunks, of four, rather than a continuous sixteen digit number. This makes the number possible to remember in accordance to the theory of chunking.
3. Automatic gearbox interface
An automatic gearbox removes the mental effort of having to remember the number and sequence of gears required to operate a motor vehicle.
Gobet, F. (2001). Chunking mechanisms in human learning. Retrieved from http://www.brunel.ac.uk/~hsstffg/papers/Chunking-TICS.pdf
Malamed, C. (2014). Chunking Information for Instructional Design. Retrieved from http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/chunking-information/