Performance load

“The greater the effort to accomplish a task, the less likely the task will be accomplished successfully”. Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003).

 In this weeks reading Lidwell, W talks about performance load, Cognitive load and kinematics load and how they are used in design.

Performance load is described as “the degree of mental and physical activity required to achieve a goal. Which means that if your load is high it will be hard to achieve your goal. When it comes to performance load it consist of two types of loads: cognitive and kinematic load.

Cognitive load is referred to “when the amount of mental activity, perception, memory, problem solving required to accomplished a goal. We all use cognitive to figure out things out.

Kinematic load is described as “the degree of physical activity- number of steps or movement or amount of force- requires to accomplish a goal”. An example of this would have to be telecommunications, because before we had technology the only interaction that we had was face-to-face or sending letters which reduces the transmission time.

When designer something new for a company designs have to make sure that they are minimizing the performance load, so they don’t end up with unwanted information (cognitive load). By reducing kinematic load with un need steps, it will expand the automating repetitive task.     


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

Unknown (2007). Understanding Performance, load and stress testing. TechTarget.

Sonia Dutt, B.A. (2007). The effects of cognitive load and perceptual load on working memory performance. The university of Houston

Erred, C., Ginns, P., Pitts,C. (2006). Cognitive Load Theory and User Interface design: Making Software easy to learn and use (part 1). PTG Global making Technology work.

Sweller,J., Ayres,P., Kalyuga, S. (2011). Cognitive Load Theory. Explorations in the learning science, Instruction Systems and Performance Technologies, 1.



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