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I took a class at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) called Visual Rhetoric. Part of the class description reads, “This course explores how visual design is used for purposes of identification, information, and persuasion. It looks at many modes of visual communication, such as icons, logos, trademarks, signs, product packaging, infographics, posters, billboards, ads, exhibits, graffiti, page layout, films, television, videogames, and web sites.” For the final project, I chose to analyze the design and cognitive load issues in BannerWeb, a web site students have to use to tasks relating to registering for courses, paying bills and other school-related activities. In addition, I redesigned a few pages and showed how my redesign reduced or eliminated the issues I had described previously. The main theme of the analysis was that the existing site imposed a large cognitive load burden on the user requiring them to remember a lot of information in order to accomplish most tasks. This is particularly bad in a site that every student is required to use!
We were also required to give a 5 minute presentation on the final project. I aced the class (100 out of 100). The final project as a PDF is available for download