What is Chunking?
Chunking refers to the way humans learn the language, in larger “lexical chunks” or meaningful strings of words committed to memory rather than learning word-for-word. Chunks may consist of fixed idiom or conventional speech routines, but also may be words that appear frequently together in a pattern which is known as “collocations”. Chunking is one of the key ways in which children learn a language (Zimmer, 2010, p.30).
In term of visual design, chunking becomes crucial when a large amount of information need to be conveyed or memorized. Chunking groups this information into smaller packages, hence decreasing the cognitive load. According to business manager, Bernadette Doyle, through the process of chunking, the amount of cognition used can be decreased by 60% (Doyle, 2009).
In visual communication, chunking is often used to convey numbers, specifically phone numbers. For example: compare the two sets of numbers
The second set is going to be easier for a person to remember because in chunks the number into smaller subsets. Other examples of chunking in visual design include separating into smaller paragraphs with the use of the “seven plus or minus two rule” in which, five to nine pieces of information are the maximum a person can take in on one page (Miller, 1956, p.82).
Other techniques include the use of hierarchy through “chunk maps” to increase specificity and the use of the Use the “inverted pyramid” style of writing, putting the main points at the top of the page. (Bartoletti, 2017)
Bartoletti, R. (2017). Using text and layout to enhance the readability of your content. OpenStax. Retrieved from http://cnx.org/contents/JU1_6DoD@5/Using-text-and-layout-to-enhan
Doyle, B. (2009). The Principle of Least Effort. Sunzu. Retrieved from https://www.sunzu.com/articles/the-principle-of-least-effort-140571/
Miller, G. A. (1956). The magical number seven, plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological review, 63(2), 81.
Zimmer, B. (2010, Sep 19). Chunking. New York Times Magazine, , 30. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.ecu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/753800924?accountid=10675