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“Loads” and a designer’s way of thinking about information processing and complexity

How easily people process what they perceive has a term in human factors research: load. There is “cognitive load,” meaning that when a dashboard, for example, takes a lot of thinking or remembering to make sense, it has high load. “Visual load” refers to what Prof. Edward Tufte would call chart junk or what we wade through when a page is cluttered, splashed with colors, animation, and multiple parts. “Motor load” applies less to practicing lawyers, but it is a third type.

These three loads come from Rotman Mag., Fall 2011 at 104. That magazine emphasizes integrative design thinking. This contribution gives a terminology and a framework for thinking about complexity (See my post of Sept. 14, 2011: three dimensions of complexity.).

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