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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Tools Summit: Free Up the Cognitive Load: UX in Animation Workflow

Irene Zhu  (UX Designer, 343 Industries)

Date: Monday, July 19

Time: 10:50am - 11:20am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Programming

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

Like computers, the human brain has limited amount of processing power(cognitive load). When the amount of information coming in exceeds the ability to handle it, fatigue happens, performance declines. We may miss important details or even abandon the task completely, which is not what we want to see happen. This is especially relevant in a work from home environment. Because back in the office, there were short walks in and out of a meeting room, the water-cooler conversations, and lunches with coworkers. Each acts like a mini reboot for our brain, which allows us to go back to work relatively refreshed. Now, most of us sit in one spot and stare at the screen all day. But we often find ourselves more easily exhausted and less productive. In situations like this, every bit of brain power counts. And we as tool developers want to be aware of the state our users might be in, and be mindful about how much brain power we are asking for in our tools. This talk uses 3 animation tools as examples to demonstrate how to start thinking about the level of cognitive load our tools are asking for, and ways to reduce it.


The audience will learn how to examine usability of their tools from a cognitive load perspective, and improve the user experience by applying the principles mentioned in this talk.

Intended Audience

Tools and workflow designers
Tools and workflow developers
Technical animators
Artists and devs who cares about tool user experience in general