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.