Learning Portfolio 3 – Q1 Summary Part 1

This week’s article was on Performance Load and the different types of loads – Cognitive and Kinematic.

Cognitive Load is best described as the amount of mental activity that is used to complete a task (Cooper, 1998), and Kinematic Load is best described as the amount of physical activity to complete a task. (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010)

The idea that tasks that require more mental activity and problem solving to actually complete the task, will interfere with the learning process associated with the task. (Sweller, 1988). The less mental activity that we use to perform a task will always result in fewer errors and will always allow us to complete the task.

Whatever task we are undertaking, it should have the performance load minimised as much as possible (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010). Our minds are limited in respect to how much information we can hold in them and how many tasks we can undertake. (Cognitive Load Theory, n.d.)

If a task is going to take too many steps, such as clicks on a mouse to get to a desired web page, the user will find this all too time consuming and argue if it is really worth it.


Cognitive Load Theory. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2013, from University of South Alabama Online Learning Laboratory: http://www.southalabama.edu/oll/mobile/theory_workbook/cognitive_load_theory.htm

Cooper, D. G. (1998, December). Research into Cognitive Load Theory and Instructional Design at UNSW. Retrieved May 10, 2013, from Research into Cognitive Load Theory and Instructional Design at UNSW: http://dwb4.unl.edu/Diss/Cooper/UNSW.htm

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal Principles of Design. Massachusetts: Rockport.

Sweller, J. (1988). Cognitive load during problem solving: Effects on learning. University of New South Whales, School of Education. n.a.


Learning Portfolio 2 – Q2 Examples

Item 1 – Traffic Lights


(Image: arizonatrafficschool.wordpress.com)

Traffic lights would have to be predominately one of the most common designs that apply the affects of Functional Consistency. We all know that red means stop, green means go and amber means slow down – it is universally understood what traffic lights represent and the colours that represent each of the meanings of a traffic light. When we look at Traffic Lights, we are subconsciously applying “… existing knowledge about how the design functions”. (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010).

Item 2 – Nike Symbol


(Image: oeilsj.wordpress.com)

As discussed in my previous post, the Nike Symbol (or the “Tick”) is a great example of Aesthetic Consistency. This symbol (or logo) is used throughout Nike’s promotional materials, clothing apparel, websites, magazines, stores etc. It is a logo that consumers associate with the brand Nike, you dont even had to have the word Nike underneath the logo to know what this is representing – this is due to Aesthetic Consistency. It “enhances recognition…” (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010) allowing the consumer to identify clearly what the product is and who is promoting it. It also allows the consumer to emotionally connect with the logo, knowing that the Nike logo represents health, fitness and wellness allowing the consumer to feel positive about themselves when they buy products with this logo on it.

Item 3 – Street Signs


(Image: www.vincent.wa.gov.au)

Street signs are a good example of Internal Consistency. Street signs are apart of a system, and usually the system is a Shire or a Council. You will see that within different suburbs of Perth (and other states across Australia as well as the world) have a system of street signs that are cohesive with one another. They will all have the same font face and colour scheme as well as size and usually will have a logo of the Shire or Council on there as well. It allows the general public to know that a “…system has been designed” (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010) particularly for this area.


Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal Principles of Design. Massachusetts: Rockport.

Learning Portfolio 2 – Q1 Summary

Aesthetic consistency is extremely important in a product, because it promotes a connection between the consumer and a product. When aesthetic aspects of the product are used universally, the consumer can identify the product or the brand and become accustom to it and then start to develop feelings towards it. (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010). Colour is strongly used in aesthetic consistency as it is “…the visual element that profoundly appeals to human emotion” (Evans & Thomas, 2008).

For example, take the brand Nike, their logo design of the “tick” is used throughout all of their promotional products, and predominantly is used in either black or white. However, Nike also introduced their logo in different colours when being branded on dark or light coloured apparel, but consumers are still able to recognise what it is, because it is aesthetically consistent.

As well as aesthetic consistency, functional consistency is also equally important in a product. Functional Consistency is especially important in elements such as web design, as designers will always emphasis the importance of “…consistent navigation, consistent page layouts, or consistent control elements” (Spool, 2005).

Talking about web design, if you have consistent navigation controls, that are more than likely based on the same principles that most website’s navigation control’s are, the consumer will be able to draw on pre-existing knowledge about how it functions. (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010). It is important to ensure that all products are functionally consistent, so it allows the consumer to use the product with ease.

Internal consistency promotes consistency of elements in a system. You must identify “…recurring design elements that appear in different contexts…” (Garrett, 2011) to allow a system to be internally consistent with each of the elements. It is important to make a connection with the consumer that they are able to trust the product, and without internal consistency, that would be proven hard to achieve.

External Consistency is “…what you’ve know in your past.” (Robinson, n.a.). It allows the benefits of internal consistency to be extended across systems. (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010)


Evans, P., & Thomas, M. A. (2008). Exploring the Elements of Design (Second ed.). Clifton Park, NY, USA: Thomson Delmar Learning.

Garrett, J. J. (2011). The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond, Second Edition (Second ed.). Berkley, CA: New Riders.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal Principles of Design. Massachusetts: Rockport.

Robinson, R. (n.a.). Consistency in Interactive Design. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from Skookum Digital Works: http://skookum.com/consistency-in-interactive-design/

Spool, J. (2005, September 15). Consistency in Design is the Wrong Approach. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from User Interface Engineering: http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2005/09/15/consistency-in-design-is-the-wrong-approach/

Learning Portfolio 1 – Q2 Examples

Item 1 – Nespresso Coffee Machine

Photo 26-04-13 11 46 58 AM

There are hundreds of different brands and models of coffee machines in the market, but the Nespresso has to be the leading model from De’Longhi Manufacturers.

The reason why consumers will always pick a model like Nespresso, is because it looks good – in certain models, you can choose the colour, which would appeal to those consumers who pride their lifestyles on looks and appearances. Consumers will accept the fact that a Nespresso Coffee machine will set them back more than a no-name coffee machine would, because a) they are paying for the brand and b) they are more attracted to the Nespresso because it is more aesthetically pleasing and renders a positive response in their brain. (Towers, 2010)

Item 2 – GHD Hair Straightener

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These have been hot on the market for years now, because they pride themselves on the fact that a straightener can not only straighten your hair, but also curl it and they emphasis the materials that the straightener is made of – making the consumer believe that it is a superior brand.

GHD’s can retail from anyway from $300 up, compared to no name hair straighteners that you can purchase for $70. Consumers are attracted to the aesthetically pleasing design of the GHD because it is black, it is slim, easy to carry around, and of course has the all important “GHD” labelled on there. Consumers are paying for the brand name, but at the same time they will opt for a design of a hair straightener that is compact, not bulky, and pretty rather than a large, heavy bulky item that is less aesthetically pleasing.

Item 3- Gillette Razor

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There are hundreds of different brands of razors in supermarkets and pharmacies, but Gillette Razors are quite popular mainly because of their aesthetic appearance. Consumers will be more drawn towards Gillette Razors because they are feminine, they are made with pastel colours, they have disposable razor heads which allows them to last longer, and they are overall more aesthetically pleasing to the consumers eye opposed to majority of the other razors.


Towers, A. (2010, March 30). Aesthetic Usability Effect. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from Usability Friction: http://usabilityfriction.com/2010/03/30/aesthetic-usability-effect/

Learning Portfolio 1 – Q1 Summary

This week’s article was all about the idea that consumers see aesthetically pleasing designs easier to use opposed to less aesthetically pleasing designs.

In an article by Mark Boulton, he states that “Good usability is inherent in good design because people think well designed things work better, whether they do or not” (Boulton, 2005)

This is very true in the fact that consumers will always be more attracted and drawn towards a design that is aesthetically pleasing, and therefore will argue that because it is attractive, it functions better. It is important to ensure that designs are cohesive and engaging, which makes them visually appealing to the viewer. Designs that don’t have organised visual elements or structure are less likely to be deemed aesthetically pleasing. (Evans & Thomas, 2008)

It is also more apparent that more sales will be generated on aesthetically pleasing designs, because consumers are more likely to provide positive views towards the product based on it’s appearance alone. (Towers, 2010)

This also brings about the idea that consumers will be more tolerant about problems that products that are more aesthetically pleasing have, whereas if you were to have a problem with a “less pretty” product, the consumer would jump straight at the opportunity to complain.

We all judge books by their cover – as much as we don’t want to admit it, we do on a regular basis. The same goes for products. When you first see a product, you are going to judge it by it’s appearance, if it is aesthetically pleasing you will create a positive connection to that product and it will greatly affect your attitude towards that product as well. (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010)

Products will always be judged by the consumer because they are judging it based on how it will fit into their personal lifestyle, therefore that is why aesthetics play a major role on whether a product is successful or not. (Green & Jordon, 2004)


Boulton, M. (2005, March 6). Aesthetic-Usability Effect. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from The Personal Disquiet of MARK BOULTON: http://www.markboulton.co.uk/journal/aesthetic-usability-effect

Evans, P., & Thomas, M. A. (2008). Exploring the Elements of Design (Second ed.). Clifton Park, NY, USA: Thomson Delmar Learning.

Green, W. S., & Jordon, P. W. (2004). Pleasure With Products: Beyond Usability. Florida: CRC Press.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal Principles of Design. Massachusetts: Rockport.

Towers, A. (2010, March 30). Aesthetic Usability Effect. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from Usability Friction: http://usabilityfriction.com/2010/03/30/aesthetic-usability-effect/