Performance Load: Week 3.


This article explains what Performance, Cognitive and Kinematic load is and how in design reducing these loads can produce a more publically accessible design. ‘The greater the effort to accomplish a task, the less likely the task will be accomplished successfully.’ Principle of least effort.

The Performance load is based on the degree of mental and physical activity required to achieve a set goal. If the performance load is high performance time and errors increase therefore the probability of accomplishing the goal decreases.

Cognitive Load is the amount of mental activity required to accomplish a set goal, the simpler some set design is made the easier it is to understand and remember for the brain hence making it more successful.

Kinematic load is the degree of physical activity e.g. the amount of force, how much physical activity is needed. If the task requires a very high kinematic load and making it strenuous on the subject, it is not going to be affective because the subject is going to be tired and give up on the set goal.


Chunking information is taking long strings of information that are hard for the brain to memorize and remember and transforming them into smaller, manageable bit of information. e.g 10 links on a website, grouping them into categories making it easier to access and remember what links lead to which areas of inquiry. One example of everyday chunking is things like phone numbers; 0430 12 4599 in chunks of 4-2-4.

George A. Miller formulated the Chunk Method in 1957 and said that working memory could hold seven (plus or minus two) chunks of information at once’ (Miller, 1956) this was further studied and then identified that not seven chunks of information could be held but more likely four or five bits of information could be held. Having said that if a persons working memory is already full it will be unable to retain anymore information, therefore you need to ‘chunk’ the information and put it in bit size pieces so that none of the information you are trying to demonstrate especially through design gets lost.

Four Steps to Chunking:

  1. Determine the importance of your content, going through to pick the most generalised topics through to the specific content that is more knowledge based. Then rank the importance of the content according to the use when considering the structure of your design and elements of the design.
  2. Dividing your hierarchy list into smaller related chunks, continue this so you come across a topic heading. Repeat for all of your content and you will have set groups that have topic headings.
  3. Organise you topic headings and groups so that they all come under the same topic or relating topic. This means that you will have all you heading that have sub-headings which lead to one specific topic of content. With design it is recommended that you stick to one topic for each heading otherwise it will lead the viewer to confusion and won’t be clear what you are trying to achieve. People like simplicity especially with design.
  4. This step is basically checking you chunks and seeing how necessary they are to your design, and if they are understandable if they are get rid of the access content.


A study of psychology is crucial in the understanding and making of a affective design. When making a design you need to consider a persons psychology; how are they going to react to a use of specific colours or how and what negative/positive response is associated with the specific brand or ideologies you are going to be representing through this design. The making of a design is used to provoke a specific thought or response from a person whether it be advertising, to make someone buy a product or a poster to a horror film to make someone feel scared and shocked. The only way you can have these effects on people is to understand a broad spectrum of their psychology, I’m not saying that you need a degree in psychology to produce a successful design but you at least have to do some study into peoples psychologies to understand briefly what makes them feel/react certain ways.


Cooper, G. (2015). Research into Cognitive Load Theory and Instructional Design at UNSW, 1-4. Retrieved from

Learning Solutions Magazine,. (2015). Nuts and Bolts: Brain Bandwidth – Cognitive Load Theory and Instructional Design by Jane Bozarth : Learning Solutions Magazine. Retrieved 13 October 2015, from—cognitive-load-theory-and-instructional-design

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Universal principles of design. Gloucester, Mass.: Rockport.
Malamed, C. (2009). Chunking Information for Instructional Design. Retrieved 13 October 2015, from

Miller, G. (1956). The magical number seven, plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review, 63(2), 81-97.

Plass, J., Moreno, R., & Brünken, R. (2010). Cognitive load theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tzanavari, A., & Tsapatsoulis, N. (2010). Affective, interactive and cognitive methods for e-learning design. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.,. (2015). SITE DESIGN: “Chunking” information. Retrieved 13 October 2015, from


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