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Dominira Saul

Dominira Saul

Akendi Alumnus

How Much is Too Much?

John Gillespie Magee was a WWII aviator who wrote what is arguably the second most famous wartime poem.

The poem High Flight describes the joys of slipping the surly bonds of earth and dancing the skies on laughter silvered wings…

John Gillespie Magee died in a mid-air collision with a friendly aircraft.

Few of us will ever know the amount of concentration and rapid decision making that’s required to fly a combat aircraft, but we drive cars every day and it seems the more advanced our cars get, the greater the cognitive load that’s placed on drivers.  I believe it should be the other way around.  The more advanced we get, the simpler our cars should become.

Cognitive load is a term that we hear often in UX.  In my experience however, not everyone that uses the term has a full understanding of the concept.  We often use the term to describe a screen or page that is too cluttered or one that has distracting elements.  Strictly speaking, that is not cognitive load.

The concept of cognitive load is rooted in the two experiments that are responsible for the Hick/Hyman law.  What law?  There are other laws in UX besides Fitts’ Law? Yes there are.

In short Hick/Hyman proved that the more information a user is presented with, the longer it takes to make a decision.  Yes this seems logical but like Fitts’ Law they were able to prove this logarithmically… they could draw a line that describes exactly how long it will take to make a decision based on how much information the user was presented with.

Dominira Saul

Dominira Saul

Akendi Alumnus


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Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.