Examples of Performance Load

The performance load of an object is how mentally and physically easy it is to use. Here are some examples of the performance load from everyday items from my life.

Example 1: Broom


This is an obvious example of performance load changing how commonly an item is used. Since the creation of the much less  physically intensive vacuum cleaner the broom is used much less often.

Example 2: Simple Weather Station


Rather than going out to set up and read something like a rain gauge, this weather station sends its automatic information to a screen in another location. The job is much easier and so likely to be used by at home weather men.

Example 3: Peeler


A peeler as simple as this one requires little cognitive load, especially compared to something like a knife. They are commonplace in kitchens for such a reason.

Examples of Consistency in Design

Consistency is a principle that can add a lot to the ease of systems. Below are three examples from my life that have elements of consistent design.

Example 1: Television Remote


This is a great example of an external, functional consistency. The remote itself is a universal remote made by Logitech, but the true consistency in this product comes not from itself but other remote controls from pretty much every company. Symbols such as play and pause, the addition of arrows and an enter button and the numbers 0-9 are all common elements in these products. This leads to people knowing the how to use the remote from past experiences. All the different systems share these features to make the learning process much easier.

Example 2: Printer


This Brother printer demonstrates aesthetic consistency in an internal way. Expectations of the printer’s systems are created from images used throughout. The most obvious example are the primary functions of print, fax, scan, copy and photo capture each represented by the same images on the outside of the printer and within the system. This consistent use of internal symbols helps users to relate everything within the printer to one of those aforementioned functions. Again this makes everything within the system easier and thus better designed.

Example 3: Ladder


Ladders can represent all types of consistency. On the external and functional sides one can expect a good ladder to be stable and easy enough to climb. Even when items such as ladders come in a variety of designs (as seen in the picture) consistencies such as these often carry over. While internally expectations can come from both aesthetics and functions. For example, it can be assumed each rung is the same length apart for proper safety while climbing up. All these examples on something as simple as a ladder proves the effectiveness of consistent design.

Aesthetic-Usability Effect Examples

The Aesthetic-Usability Effect is a theory that people perceive more aesthetic designs to work better then less aesthetic designs. Below are three examples from my life that I would consider to achieve the effect.

Example 1: Dyson Vacuum


A very popular example of the effect at work. Dyson is a brand well known for its quality above and beyond other vacuum cleaners. While a considerable amount of this certainly comes from the actual effectiveness of the product, it almost certainly out performs brands of similar quality because of the brands well known unique look. Unlike many companies behind such common household products, one can tell Dyson have put a lot of thought into the functionally useless design of their product, and they have since the beginning. It has certainly proven to be effective.

Example 2: Toaster


This is a more personal example than the last. Toasters do not vary greatly in their quality. A task as simple as toasting bread in a satisfactory way for most on even the cheapest product. However this sleek and retro design would most definitely make it stand out against other brands, even if its function is the same. A much more positive relationship can be made with such a sleek model than the boring old silver toaster. The knobs, buttons and dials make even this almost always automatic product seem easier to use than the competition.

Example 3: Dragon Egg Paper Weight


A very simple example. Function wise there is literally no difference between this and a bland one. I can confirm aesthetics was the sole reason for my purchase of this item. The well designed item, I thought would do a better job at the effortlessly simple task of holding down papers, regardless of its higher price tag. It again comes down to forming a relationship, even to an item like this. Extremely simple items such as this are perfect in demonstrating the effect as their function is so similar that bias for aesthetics can easily be observed.