I want to make sure I'm understanding cognitive load correctly, and I'm
hoping someone here can verify whether or not I'm on the right track.
Here's my understanding:
The elements that make up an interface all contribute to the cognitive load
users must wade through when using an application for the first time, and
any time something in the application changes (eg: the addition of a new
feature that takes a prominent position in the interface).
Cognitive load theory says that the learning process is most effective when
the load on short-term memory is reduced to facilitate the transfer of
information to long-term memory. In short, it's much easier to process and
retain only one or two new pieces of information at a time than it is to
process ten. When we view a Web page for the first time, we have to process
every piece of information on it to decide what's relevant to what we are
trying to accomplish. When a page is cluttered up with all sorts of
unnecessary items, short-term memory is hit hard. There's a lot to see and
learn and process. When we finally manage to pick out the important pieces,
we have very little remaining capacity to transfer that information into
How far off am I with this explanation? Can someone please correct anything
I've misstated here?