Performance Load Q1

This week we explored the path of least resistance, that is Performance load.

Lidwell, Holden and Butler, explain Performance load as  “the degree of mental and physical activity required to achieve a task” (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2003). Not only that the probability of successfully completing a goal depends upon the size of the performance load. Performance load is mad up of two types; Cognitive and kinematic load. Cognitive load is the amount of mental activity needed to complete an activity. More importantly it proposes that working memory is limited, making unmanaged and complex information result in cognitive overload (Chandler & Sweller) There is a limit to the amount of information that can be used, processed and stored by the working memory, and overloading that limit undermines the learning process ( Chaudhry,2010)

The reduction of cognitive load reduces the mental strain when using computers. They did this by ” minimizing visual noise, chunking information that must be remembered, using memory aids to assist in recall and problem solving and automating computation – and memory intensive tasks” (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2003).The success of computers is largely because of the reduction of cognitive load. Kinematic load is the physical effort needed to complete a task. General ways that they reduced the Kinematic load was by “reducing the number of steps required to complete tasks, minimizing range of motion and travel distances, and automating repetitive tasks” (Lidwell, Holden & Butler,2003). When the telegraph was invented and communication was carried out by mechanical tapping out each letter. The number of taps needed to carry out this tedious exercise was the kinematic load, as you can imagine it wasn’t very efficient. But effort was made such as the common letters being ‘e’ was a single tap, whilst letters like ‘q’ were much longer and drawn out. This was an effort to reduce loading, ( Doctor Disruption,2011).

Reducing the performance load means tasks become easier therefor less time wasted and the likelihood of completion increases.



Chandler, P. & Sweller, J. (1991). Cognitive Load Theory and the Format of Instruction. Cognition And Instruction, 8(4), 293-332.

Doctor Disruption. (2011). Retrieved 18 May 2016, from

Lidwell, Holden, & Butler,. (2003). Aesthetic Usability effect.

M. Chaudhry. What is Cognitive Load Theory? Retrieved 05 15, 2014, from HubPages: /hub/What-is-Cognitive-Load-Theory. 2010.


Aesthetic usability effects Q2

Butler, Holden & Lidwell (2003) defined the Aesthetic-Usability Effect, as a concept in which more attractive things are rated as easier to use, despite the likely hood that they are. The following are examples of this spectacle;

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(Independent, 2016)

Nokia Mobile Phones :The Nokia phones used in the article provided for the class are an older version of the cellur phones we are used to but it still incorporates the  Aesthetic Usability effect. Once upon a time these phones were new, fresh and advanced compared to others. Nokia was one of the first companies that realised that phones needed more than just the traditional communication features. Aesthetic elements such as “coloured covers and customised rings are more than ornaments” ( Butler, Holden & Lidwell, 2003). Though this phone was not without its faults, these aesthetic features encouraged a “positive relationship with the user that in turn makes troubles more tolerable” (Butler, Holden & Lidwell 2003).

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TiVo desktop (,2016)

TiVo Recording System: TiVo TV’s is an American television brand that allows consumers to record, pause and rewind live TV. With todays busy busy lifestyle, there isnt much time to sit and watch your favourite shows. TiVo obliterates this problem in style, and event if there are a few problems, customers are forgiving due to its sleek menu visuals. “Through attractive on screen menus and pleasant and distinct auditory feedback are changing the way people record and watch their favourite programs.” ( Butler, Holden & Lidwell, 2003)


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Audi vs Skoda  (CarWow,2014)

Audi or Skoda

Cars pretty much all do the same thing; get us from one place to another, look pretty similar; four wheels, seats and an engine, so why do people buy one over another. I can tell you right now that i would pick an Audi any day, this purely comes down to design.  Aesthetics and car design have come hand in hand for many years, its what makes the car what it is, provides it with personality and the brands look. The aesthetics; quality, structure and design is what gives the car the edge in such a competitive market place, especially when there are so many car brands out there.

Between the Audi and the Skoda, there isnt much difference besides the brand and design. The reason for choosing the Audi, even though its more expensive, is because Skoda’s brand oozes a cheap design. Many people will argue that Audi drives better or is more fuel efficient but thats not necessarily true, its because its aesthetically pleasing, more so than the Skoda.



Boulton, M. (2005). Aesthetic-Usability Effect | Journal | The Personal Disquiet of Mark Retrieved 16 May 2016, from

Car Wow,. (2014). Audi vs Skoda. Retrieved from

Independent – Nokia,. (2016).

Lidwell, Holden, & Butler,. (2003). Aesthetic Usability effect.

MultipeLife.c0m (2016). TiVo Desktop [image] Retrieved from