Performance load: Week 3 – Question 1

Q1) 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).

Article reference:

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


Reducing both cognitive and kinematic performance loads is seen as beneficial for the user through the increase in probability of successful outcomes. Lidwell, Holden & Butler (2003) define cognitive load as the amount of mental activity expended to achieve a result. Lidwell, Holden & Butler (2003) also define kinematic load as the degree of physical activity to achieve the desired result. Stewart (2015) notes the importance of user experience in both appealing to customers and retaining; suggesting an increased chance of producing a positive user experience can be accomplished through reducing cognitive performance load. Lidwell, Holden & Butler (2003) suggest the reduction of cognitive load can occur through the chunking of information and removal of pointless material. Whilst Lidwell, Holden & Butler (2003) also state that decreasing the steps involved in the completion of a goal and reducing overall and and energy expenditure (to? what is happening here? He needs some more meat). Mayer & Moreno (2003) argue a different solution in relation to cognitive overload whilst viewing media, the suggested solution being the segmentation to assist the viewers learning. The combination of effective, logical segmentation or chunking of information and the removal of unnecessary steps is seen by Lidwell, Holden & Butler (2003), Stewart (2015) and Mayer & Moreno (2003) as the ideal method to use to increase a users learning capacity.


Jacob, E. K., & Loehrlein, A. (2009). Information architecture. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 43(1), 1-64. doi:10.1002/aris.2009.1440430110

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

Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1), 43-52. doi:10.1207/S15326985EP3801_6

Stewart, T. (2015). User experience. Behaviour & Information Technology, 34(10), 949-951. doi:10.1080/0144929X.2015.1077578



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