Every goal requires energy. If you want to complete a task, you need to put in the effort, whether that be physical or mental



Portfolio 3, Q. 1

Performance load relates to the energy expenditure, whether mental or physical, that is required to complete a goal (Liddell et al., 2003, p. 148). Galitz (2007, p. 84) notes that a greater performance load will sacrifice usability, thus reducing the likelihood of accomplishing the goal.

Liddell, Holden and Butler (2003, p. 148) refer to cognitive load and kinematic load. Cognitive load is like the processing power of the human brain (Whitenton, 2003). Too much information and it becomes overload. In the same way, cognitive load is the mental activity required to use a product or system (Whitenton, 2003). Zheng (2012, p. 120) illustrates with the levels of problem solving necessary to complete a website task.  On the other hand, kinematic load is the physical activity required to use a product or system (Liddell et al., 2003, p. 148). For example, Morse code was designed on the principle that high-frequency letters were assigned the easier codes (Liddell et al., 2003, p. 148).


Chunking allows a user to complete complex problem solving tasks by reducing unnecessary load (Liddell et al., 2003, p. 148). Redish (2000, p. 166) Illustrates with a website where page elements are chunked into bite-sized pieces.


Portfolio 3, Q. 2

Huthwaite (2007, pp. 178 – 179) describes the process of simplifying the design of a product for the benefit of the consumer. To do this, he suggests chunking, the process that combines functions of a product (Huthwaite, 2007, p. 179). Liddell, Holden and Butler (2003, p. 148) talk about “eliminating unnecessary information.” Martin (2011, p. 99) describes the benefits of chunking as consumers are not trying to recall lengthy sequences of letters, symbols and numbers. He illustrates with the use of a password (Martin, 2011, p. 99). A password is necessary for security, but easy-to-remember combinations are essential for consumers. Thus, supporting systems are often set up for consumers. Or otherwise, secret questions where only the consumer knows the answer are available, making the password experience more user-friendly (Martin, 2011, p. 99). Harrod (n.d., “Chunking”) details the times when chunking is necessary in design, such as when other distractions are competing for attention (i.e. a ringing telephone). Thus, chunking the design allows the consumer to multitask between competing distractions without being overwhelmed by information such as long codes. Liddell, Holden and Butler (2003, p. 148) talk about “reducing unnecessary steps”. For example, the evolution of the telephone illustrates this principle. A consumer once needed to remember phone numbers, email addresses and other information, but now a phone has a built-in memory. The task of ringing a friend does not necessarily include dialling a number, but rather pressing a single button that dials the number. Huthwaite (2007, p. 181) also illustrates with the Swiss Army knife that integrated several different knives and instruments into the one design. He describes this as “integral product architecture” where “functional elements are integrated into one or very few chunks” (Huthwaite, 2007, p. 180).


Portfolio 3, Q. 3

Psychology is necessary to develop more effective design. Liddell (2003, p. 148) highlights the role of perception in cognitive load. Volker (2010, p. 23) suggests that design affects different people in varying ways, because of the diversity of cultures, the different interpretations, meanings and symbols attached to design.  Mugge, Schoormans and Schifferstein (2008, p. 438) concur that people assign different meanings to product design. The assigned meaning relates to the attachment that a consumer places on a design (Mugge et. al., 2008, p. 437). Schmitt (p. 198) suggests that “design goes beyond sensory elements”, suggesting that design moves into a “way of thinking”. Moreover, Liddell (2003, p. 148) highlights the role of the mental load and chunking in design. Thus, for the consumer to relate to the product with less mental strain, the attached meaning of the design must be rational and comprehensible.


Portfolio 3, Activity 


These children’s toys illustrate the principles of performance load. The simplicity of design matches the age group. A simple press of the button provides an easy learning tool. The different coloured shapes gives parents a visual learning aid. The goal of seeing the turtle head pop out does not expend  the toddler’s efforts.


It may be an antique radiogram, but even still, the principles of performance load are demonstrated. The switches are user-friendly. The tuning knob correlates to the stations. The user does not require a complex manual to operate it.


From an antique to the modern design of a remote control, there are more buttons, but still they are easily identifiable. The buttons are designed with a user-friendly arrangement. The symbols are well-known. The package is easy-to-read.




Galitz, Wilbert O. (2007).  The Essential Guide to User Interface Design: An Introduction to GUI Design Principles and Techniques, Third Edition. Indiana: Wiley Publishing.

Harrod, Martin (n.d.). “Chunking.” Interaction Design Foundation. Retrieved from

Huthwaite, Bart (2007). The Lean Design Solution. Michigan: Institute for Lean Innovation.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic-Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of Design. Massachusetts: Rockport. 

Martin, James William (2011). Unexpected Consequences: Why the Things We Trust Fail. California: Praeger.

Mugge, Ruth; Schoormans, Jan P. L. & Schifferstein, Hendrik N. J. (2008). “Product Attachment: Design Strategies to Stimulate the Emotional Bonding to Products.”  pp. 425-438. Taken from Schifferstein, Hendrik N. J. & Hekkert, Paul (Eds.), Product Experience. California, USA: Elsevier.

Redish, Janice C. (2000). “What is Information Design?” Technical Communication.  Retrieved from–Redish.pdf

Schmitt, Bernd (2016). “The Design of Experience.” Taken from Batra, Rajeev; Seifert, Colleen & Brei, Diann (Eds.), The Psychology of Design: Creating Consumer Appeal. New York & London: Routledge.

Volker, Leentje (2010). Deciding about Design Quality. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Whitenton, Kathryn (2013, December 22). “Minimize Cognitive Load to Maximize Usability.” Nielson Norman Group. Retrieved from

Zheng, Robert Z. (2012). “Net Geners’ Multi-Modal and Multi-Tasking Performance in Complex Problem Solving.” pp. 107-128. Taken from Ferris, Sharmilla Pixy (ed.), Teaching, Learning, and the Net Generation: Concepts and Tools for Reaching Digital Learners. USA: Information Science Reference.



A user-friendly product attracts consumers, welcomes continued use and enhances the experience



Portfolio 2, Q. 1

Consistency within design creates a synergy within the product that enhances user-friendliness and allows for ease of application (Liddell et al., 2003, p. 46). Chen (2016, “Why Design Principles Shape Stronger Products”) reiterates the importance of design consistency, suggesting that it fulfils consumer expectations when using the product, that it creates a shared language, and that it enhances the learning experience.

Liddell, Holden and Butler (2003, p. 43) outline four types of design consistency: functional, aesthetic, external and internal.

Functional consistency exists when the design coordinates action and meaning (Liddell et al., 2003, p. 43). DiMarco (2010, ch. 2.2) illustrates how functional consistency incorporates where buttons are placed on a technology, such as the stop, pause and start button, and how online forms are designed that the consumer can navigate with ease, where the meaning of symbols and buttons are consistent, creating a more pleasant user experience.  

Aesthetic consistency relates to design image, its style and appearance (Liddell et al., 2003, p. 43). Bartuskova and Krejcar (2014, p. 241) highlights how aesthetic consistency will allow a consumer to quickly recognize a product and a brand, and elicits a desired emotion through its visual presentation. Furthermore, it creates a greater impact on a consumer’s motivation and their continued loyalty for using a product (Bartuskova and Krejcar, 2014, p. 241).

Internal consistency refers to the synergy of a system whereas external consistency points to the environment where that system operates (Liddell et al., 2003, p. 46). Tate (2012, “Investigating Cross-Channel Consistency”) illustrates the principles of internal and external consistency using the example of the Bank of America’s website. Transfers, bill pay and accounts are consistent categories on the website, delivering consistency across all channels of the organization. ATMs are a consistent feature across the banking ecosystem, delivering the same service with a consistent touch pad. Zuschlag (2010, ‘Achieving and Balancing Consistency’) cites a steam plant to illustrate external consistency. The colours of the valves remain the same throughout most steam plants. However, such consistency depends on culture, where colour symbols may change (Zuschlag, 2010).


Portfolio 2, Q. 2 (+ activity)


The magazine, the stove and the computer reflect the principles of consistency.


The magazine exhibits the aesthetic consistency in its design. The bright colours, the consistent font, the glossy images and the similar layout. The consumer can quickly identify the product and recognize its brand (Bartuskova et al., 2014, p. 241). Morrish and Bradshaw (2012, p. 163) reiterate the aesthetic consistencies of a magazine, highlighting how with each issue the cover format, the cover-line style and the typeface are consistent. However, Nice (2007, p. 47) points out that a magazine may demonstrate consistent branding internationally, but editors shape their product to the culture, reiterating the principles of internal consistency.


The stove exhibits the principles of functional consistency. The temperature settings are designed for ease of use. The arrangement of the hot plates correlate to the designated knobs, allowing the consumer to turn on their chosen hot plate without undue mental effort. The temperature gauges are consistent, giving reassurance to the consumer. The direction for turning the knobs are also consistent. The symbols are clear without the need for extra-education.  However, Spinillo and Smythe (2013, pp. 442-443) examines user guides for stoves and concludes that the guides can sometimes defy functionality with overly complicated text. However, this is not a reflection of a stove’s functionality, but the readability of the user guide.


The computer reflects the principles of internal and external consistency. The layout of the keyboard remains consistent among all systems, reflecting external consistency. The symbols and arrangement of keys remains the same. But the Acer brand shares the same opening page, reiterating its brand and sharing the same fonts and colours, highlighting the principles of internal consistency.  Shneiderman and Chimera (1995, p. 260) highlight how internal consistency for a product like a computer must rise to the expectations of the user, especially brand-driven consumers. Sage (1992, pp. 571, 572) focuses on the global requirements of a design, suggesting that narrowly focused designs inhibit such consistency. These global considerations are evident with a computer design, especially an international brand like Acer.





Bartuskova, Aneta & Krejcar, Ondrej (2014). “Design Requirements of Usability and Aesthetics for e-Learning Purposes.” pp. 235-246. Taken from Sobecki, Janusz; Boonjing & Chittayasothorn, Suphamit (eds.), Advanced Approaches to Intelligent Information and Database Systems. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Chen, Jessie (2016, August 23). “Why Design Principles Shape Stronger Products.” Retrieved from

DiMarco, John (2010). Digital Design for Print and Web: An Introduction to Theory, Principles, and Techniques. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic-Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 46). Massachusetts: Rockport. 

Morrish, John & Bradshaw (2012). Magazine Editing in Print and Online. 3rd Ed. London & New York: Routledge.

Nice, Liz (2007). “Magazine Journalism: Targeting Print Publications to Reflect a Desired Audience.” Taken from Blumberg, Fran C., When East Meets West Media Research and Practice in US and China. UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 44-65.

Sage, Andrew P. (1992). Systems Engineering. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Shneiderman, Ben & Chimera, Richard (1995). “User Interface Consistency: An Evaluation of Original and Revised Interfaces for a Videodisk Library.” pp. 259-275. Taken Shneiderman, Ben (Ed.), Sparks of Innovation in Human-Computer Interaction. 2nd Edition. New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Spinillo, Carla Galvão & Smythe, Kelli C.A.S. (2013). “Beyond Comprehension: A Usability Study on User Instruction Manual for Stove.” Taken from Marcus, Aaron (ed.), Design, User Experience, and Usability: Web, Mobile and Product Design. Verlag Berlin Heidelberg: Springer.

Tate, Tyler (2012, December 21). “Investigating Cross-Channel Consistency.” UX Magazine. 926. Retrieved from

Zuschlag, Michael (2010, July 19). “Achieving and Balancing Consistency in User Interface Design.” UX Matters. Retrieved from