learning portfolio 3 – activity

Design examples

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(http://creditcard.calculatorsaustralia.com.au/sites/default/files/credit-card-calculator-image.png)

Credit cards are a good example of applying the performance load principle in design.  The front of the card only displays the most relevant information.  Usually that entails the bank name, followed by the credit card number and expiry date, and the card holder’s name.  Less relevant information like the security code, signature and bank details are relegated to the back of the card.  If all of that information was on the front of the card it would be overwhelming, but designers chose to group the most important information on the front, with the secondary information on the back.

 

 

Another example is a vitamin bottle.  Often vitamin bottles follow a very similar design, which is one that reduces performance load. The front prioritizes the brand information, which vitamin it is, and usually a small blurb about the function of that vitamin, with the tablet number somewhere to the side.  On the back there is more detailed information, barcodes and so forth. In this example the primary information is “chunked” by colour and font – ‘Nature’s Own’ is in a different font and colour than “Calcium, Magnesium & Vitamin D3”.  The “200 tablets per bottle” is to the side in another colour again. Overall the design allows potential consumers to easily categorize and then retain the information without being overwhelmed.

 

 

The typical design for a takeaway restaurant menu is also crafted to reduce performance load.  This menu has a front cover which shows all the most important information: the restaurant logo, name, phone number, opening hours and address, organized hierarchically through relevance, with bolded font and font size. The back shows pictures of the most popular dishes.  All of the most easily digested and relevant information is available on the front and the back of the pamphlet. Inside the pamphlet is where the entire menu is listed categorically by type of dish.  Most menus follow these same design choices, and the prioritizing of information, with contact details “chunked” makes it easy for customers to browse the menu more quickly.

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learning portfolio 3 – Q2

Q2. “Chunking” information

‘Chunking’ refers to the teaching method of chunking important or relevant information together in order to reduce cognitive load.  This is a mnemonic learning technique where designers group “content in a way that makes it easier to recall” (Dawson, 2011, p. 181).  The theory is based on research showing that users are better able to retain bite sized chunks of information rather than a swathe of data, which can be overwhelming and difficult to remember.  Research indicates that total cognitive load should not exceed working memory resources, because if too much information is presented at one time, learning may become difficult or impossible (Sweller, Ayres, Kalyuga, & Ebook, 2011, p. 64).  An example of this is that “we often learn and recall long sequences in smaller segments, such as a phone number 858 534 22 30 memorized as four segments” (Fonollosa, Neftci, & Rabinovich, 2015, p. 1).  Another example is the use of dot points in PowerPoints, or when taking notes.  The grouping and then subgrouping of information makes it easier for the brain to first retain and then classify information.

In relation to employing the ‘chunking’ technique in design, designers should present information they wish to communicate as simply and concisely as possible, grouping it into easily retained ‘chunks’ for effective learning.  This reduces cognitive load for the user, and allows them to focus and learn more easily.  The user should be able to easily identify important information, and then link that information together as they go.  Chunking makes information more easily retainable.

 

 

References

 

Dawson, A. (2011). Distinctive Design: A Practical Guide to a Findable, Useful, Beautiful Web: Wiley.

Fonollosa, J., Neftci, E., & Rabinovich, M. (2015). Learning of Chunking Sequences in Cognition and Behavior. PLoS Computational Biology, 11(11) doi:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004592

Sweller, J., Ayres, P. L., Kalyuga, S., & Ebook, L. (2011). Cognitive load theory (Vol. 1). New York: Springer.