Minimize Cognitive Load For Enterprise Software

Digital Adoption
Digital Adoption

The total cognitive load aka amount of mental processing power needed to use your site affects how easily users find content and complete tasks. Reducing extraneous cognitive load can help users better use your applications and increase adoption for your enterprise software.

Written by

COO, Usertip

What is Cognitive Load

Just like computers, humans have a limited amount of focus and attention they can bring to bear on the tasks they have on hand. As the amount of information increases beyond our ability to address it, performance suffers. In usability terms, the cognitive load imposed by a user interface is the number of mental resources that is required to operate the system. When we speak of UXUI design, ultimately it comes down to a question of balancing the cognitive load on the users.

Cognitive load can be understood as intrinsic and extraneous. Intrinsic cognitive load refers to the effort of absorbing new information and engaging with the task on hand. On the other hand extraneous cognitive load is anything that does not directly relate to the task at hand but is taking up mental resources of the user. In terms of an example think of an ecommerce platform where a user is trying to check out their cart. Any visual system element that is contributing directly to the goal of checking out the cart would contribute to intrinsic cognitive load. In contrast having pop up ads or fonts that are difficult to read are unnecessary to the act of checking out and is in fact causing more cognitive load than what is required.

General Tips For Cognitive Load

In general, it is a good tip to reduce extragenous cognitive load. Some tips include:

1) Avoiding visual clutter:

A simple tip is to reduce visual clutter by minimizing irrelevant links and images. Enterprise software in particular often falls foul of utilising navigation menus that eat up much screen real estate sometimes at the expense of readability and ease of understanding. Having sufficient whitespace is also key.

2) Build on existing mental models of how websites/digital systems work:

It is easier for users to work on applications similar to those they are already familiar with. For example, photo editing software with a similar user interface as market leaders like Photoshop may be easier for users to get up to speed with and use. Simple things like using labels like CV instead of Resume may help ease transitions.

3) Offload tasks:

Anything that requires a user to remember and transfer information increases cognitive load. Figuring out ways this can be done by the system is a way to reduce cognitive load. Some examples include displaying previously entered info or even automating the information transfer and scheduling automated processes. This administrative tasks are best carried out by the system to enable more leeway and mental space for decision making.

Follow us on Linkedin for more tips to drive user adoption. Usertip is the first Southeast Asia digital adoption platform designed to help scale your onboarding, training and support for digital solutions. Operating from Singapore, Indonesia and Australia our no-code platform delivers in-application walkthroughs directly on your digital solutions. Seamless user experience and on-demand learning are all delivered to your user’s fingertips within seconds. Click here to find out more.