Performance Load: Week 3 – Question 2


Q2) The authors mentioned a design technique of “chunking” information to reduce cognitive load.Define and describe the chunking technique in relation to design and visual communication (250 – 300 words)

Chunking is defined as “the process of taking individual pieces of information (chunks) and grouping them into larger units” Cherry (2016). Cherry (2016) argues that by grouping individual pieces of information together, the amount of information able to be retained is increased. A common example of chunking being phone numbers, rather than a sequence of number the phone number is chunking in groups to increase the ability to remember. Cherry (2016) cites George Miller as advising the capacity of an individuals’ short-term memory to be at roughly four chunks of information. Mayer & Moreno (2003) support the suggestion of chunking in aiding a users learning capacity and encourage the logical segmentation of information so as to allow the users time to process the information they are presented. Cherry (2016) discusses similar aspects of chunking, stating it is seen as so beneficial because of the ability for a person to take segments of information and apply them in a more purposeful and memorable way. Stewart (2015) argues that reducing cognitive load assists in producing a positive user experience  in relation to media usage and is an example where logical application of chunking within design would assist viewers. Lidwell, Holden and Butler (2003) also discuss the reduction on cognitive and kinematic load in relation to increasing user success as being beneficial, with the use of chunking seen, as is prominent solution in assisting in user performance load reduction.


Cherry, K. (2016) What is chunking and how can it improve your memory. Retrieved from

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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