Q4) Performance Load – Examples

AMAZON KINDLE

The Amazon Kindle is an e-book reader that is a great example of the moderation of kinematic load. For example, the psychical requirements and energy required in going out and purchasing a book or buying a magazine in the kiosk is altogether eliminated by the product’s superb features of instant download of books, magazines or newspapers.

Figure 6: Source: Amazon Kindle [Digital Image], 2011.

Figure 6: Source: Amazon Kindle [Digital Image], 2011.

QR CODES

Quick Response Codes offer customers easy and fast access to information and data simply by scanning the code with a Smartphone. This technology can transfer and download various media and memorise links on your mobile device which significantly reduces kinematic and cognitive load. QR Codes are versatile and prove to be advantageous for both users and companies. The reason being is that they connect customers with the product and its content through easy accessibility and serviceability.

Figure 5: Source: QR Codes [Digital Image], 2012.

Figure 5: Source: QR Codes [Digital Image], 2012.

MANUALS WITH INTEGRATED IMAGES

According to a survey conducted by the Geneva Faculty of Psychology, students found it easier and faster to understand a ‘manual with juxtaposed or integrated screen images’ (Martin-Michiellot & Mendelsohn, 2000, p. 284) than the traditional, instructional manual. This dramatically reduces cognitive load and enhances memorialisation. Therefore, this result showcases that humans are visual beings and need graphical representations to help them understand long strings of information and knowledge.

 

Figure 4: Source: iPhone user guide [Snapshot], 2012.

Figure 4: Source: iPhone user guide [Snapshot], 2012.

References:

Martin-Michiellot, S., & Mendelsohn, P. (2000). Cognitive load while learning with a graphical computer interface. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 16(4), 284-293.

Amazon Kindle. (2011). In Google Images [Digital Image]. Retrieved May 23, 2014, from http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/kindle-sales-will-be-10-percent-of-amazons-business-in-2012-says-citi-analyst/#!OOoJl

QR Codes. (2012). In Google Images [Digital Image]. Retrieved May 23, 2014, from http://mashable.com/2012/09/11/qr-codes-mobile-payments/

iPhone user guide (2012). In Google Images [Snapshot]. Retrieved May 23, 2014, from http://www.macrumors.com/2012/09/26/apple-updates-iphone-user-guide-for-ios-6-and-the-iphone-5/

 

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Q3) Psychology in Design

In today’s rapidly changing and fast environment, it is important to establish an environment of systems that work positively both co-ordinately and psychologically for the user. Psychology in the process of design is crucial as it produces ‘innovative and creative products and systems’ (Kumar, Khan, & Gandhi, 2011).

By integrating aesthetics and psychology in design, we can grasp the concepts of aesthetics and cognitive behaviour a lot easier. Consequently, we understand how the user operates, what he prefers and what he dislikes. This would require a conscious and categorical approach ‘in human factors research and practice’ (Liu, 2003, p. 1294). Psychological theories such as semiotics and behaviourism are incorporated in systems and products which makes the design more efficient and understandable.

As a result, the impact of psychology on design visually and ethically captivates the user to embrace the product emotionally and positively with a high maintainability of cognitive load.

References:

Kumar, S., Khan, I. A., & Gandhi, O. P. (2011). A kaleidoscopic view of psychology in design for maintainability of mechanical systems. Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, 9(3), 347-370.

Liu, Y. (2003). The aesthetic and the ethic dimensions of human factors and design. Ergonomics, 46(13-14), 1293-1305.

Q2) Chunking

The term ‘chunking’ was first mentioned by psychologist G.A.Miller in 1956, when he stated that a huge amount of information was not the absolute constituent in human memory, but rather smaller units of information called chunks (Jones, 1989, p. 87). Chunking can be applied in design and visual communication, text or images which when properly organised enhance the usability and readability of systems. This technique helps the user store information and cultivates memorisation when dealing with cognitive load in particular.

One of the advantages of chunking is that it aids the memory process and provides ‘a clear basis for efficient, predictable design communication’ (Curtis, 2010, p. 24). However, the chunks must be applied appropriately to a given context and be broken down into several chunks or items of information. In other words, it is recommended that informatoin should be summarised and categorised so that the user remembers the content thoroughly. G.A. Miller’s famous ‘The magical number seven, plus or minus two’ (Miller, 1956) theory concludes that the working memory can only handle five chunks of information, minus or plus two. To exceed this number would cause information overload and decrease learnability.

A great example of chunking is seen in page layout and page design. By dividing long chunks of information into separate units or paragraphs, the user finds it easier to follow and remember information. According to Markel, ‘chunking emphasises units of related information’ (2012, p. 271). Every item of information in a given chunk should be analogous and consistent with one another to avoid confusion and ensure that the user identifies the visual patterns of information.

References:

Curtis, N. (2010). Modular web design: Creating reusable components for user experience design and documentation. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders.

Jones, M.K. (1989). Human-computer interaction: A design guide. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

Markel, M. (2012). Technical communication. New York, NY: Bedford-St.Martins.

Miller, G.A. (1956). The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review, 63(2), 81-97.

 

Q1) Peformance Load – Summary

SUMMARY

The article identifies two types of performance load that determines the user’s overall ‘mental and physical activity’ needed to accomplish a given task to one’s advantage (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2010, p. 148). Moreover, the importance of reducing cognitive and kinematic load proves to be essential if we want a service to be successful. The reason being is that users’ feel more relaxed and comfortable with easy and simple tasks that do not require additional mental or physical exertions.

DISCUSSION

Performance load can be divided into two main categories: cognitive load and kinematic load (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2010, p. 148). By reducing performance load it is more likely the user will handle eventual problems without difficulty. Cognitive load determines the level of human memory and our problem-solving capabilities to achieve our objectives. The relationship between the consumer and product must be established in ‘accordance with the user’s information processing capabilties’ (Sears & Jacko, 2009, p. 20). Furthermore, the success rate of a product will inevitably rise if irrelevant information is cut down, providing an easy route to learning and acquiring new knowledge.

Kinematic load, just like cognitive load, aims to reduce the steps required to successfully complete a task and create an environment that works ‘in flexible ways’ (Schnotz & Kürschner, 2007, p. 469). Most importantly, the psychical commitments and energy required to manage tasks is brought to a minimum which reinforces the need for viable and applicable systems.

References:

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Universal principles of design. Massachusetts, MA: Rockport.

Schnotz, W., & Kürschner, C. (2007). A reconsideration of cognitive load theory. Educational Psychology Review, 19(4), 469-508.

Sears, A., & Jacko, J.A. (2009). Human-computer interaction: Designing for diverse users and domains. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.    

 

Q2) Consistency – Examples

THE APPLE LOGO

Figure 3: Source: Apple logo [Digital Image], 2013.

Figure 3: Source: Apple logo [Digital Image], 2013.

The sensational success of Apple products is mostly due to its innovative, modern applications and its monochromic logo of an apple. Apple is internationally renowned by using the same logo with its services including the iPhone, iMac, iPod, iPad or the lastest model, MacBook Air. This clearly portrays the company as an aesthetically consistent identity that customers can relate to and trust. In addition, by using the same color and the hierarchy placement of the logo on its products, Apple ‘serves as a mark of membership’ into a engaging environment for both the user and product (Zoll, 2007, p. 2). The company’s simplistic and consistent design corresponds with the lifestyle of the 21st century: A need for fast, simple and attractive services that communicate a sense of belonging and foster positive emotions.

 

PLAY, REWIND, REPLAY, PAUSE

We have all come across these buttons in our everyday lives whether that is on our smartphones or at home playing our favorite movies with a remote control. By adhering to our prior knowledge we can grasp new concepts and devices with ease and assurance. Moreover, the functional consistency of these symbols enhances the ‘usability and learnability’ of other systems that function or work in a similar way (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2010, p. 46). Consumers are more likely to adapt to consistent concepts of design as it provides a comforting experience, which assimilates a solid meaning about the device to the user.

 

Figure 2: Source: BSPlayer [Snapshot], 2014.

Figure 2: Source: BSPlayer [Snapshot], 2014.

ROAD SIGNS

Every design or system should ‘always be internally consistent’ with the primary factors of an appealing aesthetic and a manageable functionality (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2010, p. 46). For example, street indicators including school zones or no entry signs all use consistent design elements to create a familiar environment in the system. Furthermore, road signs have a cohesive and similar design that mean the same thing internationally, yet may differ in colour or typeface from country to country.

 

Figure 1: Source: Bicycle Dutch [Digital Image], 2012.

Figure 1: Source: Bicycle Dutch [Digital Image], 2012.

References:

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Universal principles of design. Massachusetts, MA: Rockport.

Zoll, L.J. (2007). A Tradeshow Design for Nintendo of America. Retrieved from http://books.google.com.au/

Apple logo. (2013) In Google Images [Digital Image]. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://raisoturu.com/apple-logo-hd-wallpapers-download-apple-free-logo-hd-wallpapers/

BSPlayer. (2014) In Google Images [Snapshot]. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bsplayer.bspandroid.free&hl=en

Bicycle Dutch. (2012) In Google Images [Digital Image]. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/road-signs-for-cycling-in-the-netherlands/

Q1) Consistency – Summary

SUMMARY:

This article examines how consistency in design benefits both the user’s perception of the design and the system’s usability. The convenience of consistency lies in the fact that its systems are’ . . . more usable and learnable when similar parts are expressed in similar ways’ (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2010, p. 46). Consequently, this method allows people to familiarize themselves with existing knowledge and enhance their understanding of new content which is expressed in a similar way. Four fundamental types of consistency are explained in greater detail. They include the aesthetic, functional, internal and external elements of design.

DISCUSSION:

Firstly, aesthetic consistency is based on the product’s appearance, typography, colour and style, which enable identification and recognition. Achieving aesthetic consistency does not mean pleasing ourselves; rather it serves more as a dependent pattern of design that is understandable and recognisable to other users (Schlatter & Levinson, 2013, p. 3.). Simplicity and repetition of stylistic design applications for a particular service or product trigger’s a person’s memory and their affiliation towards the design. This way, people establish an effective interaction with the product which nevertheless meets their expectations.

Functional consistency serves to provide the user with existing knowledge that can improve their understanding of how new systems function. For example, the prevalent use of the play, rewind and replay symbols on a remote control can be seen on many other devices such as MP3 players or slide projectors (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2010, p. 46). As a result, these consistent symbols and buttons help navigate the user in the right direction giving them a simple and usable mechanism to follow.

Making a link between the aesthetics and the functionality of a system means establishing an internal relationship with the system’s design protocol. Internal consistency ‘means a consistency in the design itself’ (Lee, Lee, Moon & Park, 2013, p. 46). Insuring all elements in the system are cohesive and consistent fosters a positive experience for the user and their comprehension. External consistency on the other hand, strives to develop an interrelated consistency ‘across multiple, independent systems’ (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2012, p. 46). However, the design principles range from one system to another, creating a problematic task for effective usability and performance.

References:

Lee, J., Lee, D., Moon, J., & Park, M. (2013). Factors affecting the perceived usability of the mobile web portal services: comparing simplicity with consistency. Information technology and management, 14(1), 43-57.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Universal principles of design. Massachusetts, MA: Rockport.

Schlatter, T., & Levinson, D. (2013). Visual usability: Principles and practices for designing digital applications. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Science.

Q2) Aesthetic/Usability Effect – Examples

THE iPHONE

The revolution of mobile devices has reached an unprecedented level with the overwhelming consummation of smartphones. I will analyze how the iPhone adheres to the characteristics of aesthetic design and evaluate its effective usability factors. In contrast to the old cellular devices that were bulky and served only for calling or receiving calls, the iPhone operates almost ‘autonomously’ (2012, Shin), with its numerous usability features such as internet browsing and video sharing that stimulates a shift in cultural perspectives on technology. The device serves as an intrinsic image of the current development in communications and technology in the 21st century. Moreover, the pragmatic and attractive design of the iPhone propagates positive feelings and establishes a hedonic relationship with the consumer. The user’s perception of the iPhone is initially defined by the products’ appealing, slim and customizable design, which ‘affects people’s perceptions of apparent usability’ (Shin, 2012, p. 566). Moreover, the consumer of the iPhone is likely to interactively engage with other users, which in turn will ease the emergence of practicality and usability issues.

iPhone 5

iPhone 5

 

THE REMOTE CONTROL

The wireless aspect of the remote control positively impacts the user’s overall impression which is ‘bound to create an aesthetic experience’ (Obendorf, 2009, p. 321). Instead of the viewer having to interact with the machine itself, in this case the television, the user indulges in the comforting position of ‘instructing’ from a distance. Moreover, the light-weight and minimal design allows us to engage with the content more attentively. The usability is highly functional and practical, with easy to use buttons and functions that allow us to effectively control the volume, browsing programs and searching TV guides. It successfully creates a balance between usability and the beauty of form and design with its pleasant elements and attributes. As mentioned with the iPhone, the aesthetic characteristics involve the user in its functionality which contributes to the dissemination of creative thinking and problem solving (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2010, p. 18). By establishing a positive consumer-device relationship, it increases feelings of attachment and decreases levels of stress and negative perceptions.

TECO Remote Control

TECO Remote Control

 

THE USB 

Unlike the outdated floppy disks or the CD that is likely to be damaged if not secured in a protective case, the USB is far more durable and portable. The USB evolution erupted in the 1990s as an alternative to ports and complicated configurations and instalments. Thompson states that the USB thumb drive has radically improved in terms of ‘not only in transfer speed, but in reliability and usability’ (2010, n. p.). In addition, the distinct difference it has in comparison to other systems is that it stores more data and audio files and are ‘reusable’. Furthermore, the aesthetic quality of the device is pleasing and has the added bonus of coming in various designs that range in colour and texture. The aesthetic factors of the USB comply with the perception of effortless usability which renders the user an active participant not only with the device itself, but also with the other machines it connects to.

 

My USB

My USB

 

References:

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Universal principles of design. Massachusetts, MA: Rockport.

Obendorf, H. (2009). Minimalism: Designing simplicity. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Shin, D. (2012). Cross-analysis of usability and aesthetic in smart devices: what influences users’ preferences? Cross Cultural Management, 19(4), 563 – 587.

Thompson, D. (2010, September 7). USB just got faster. The Press, p. 5.