Chunking is a technique that involves the organisation of information in a certain manner to improve the memorability of the information. Rather than attempting to remember long, large amounts of information, chunking is the strategy of breaking big pieces of information down into smaller chunks, making them easier to remember and commit to the short term memory.
With regards to design and visual communication, the chunking technique can be adapted to work in the same way. For example, lets talk about web page design. On a well designed home page, we often see that different parts of the screen are designated for different functions that the page has. The space is split into segments, or “chunks” that each have a certain likeness. This “chunking” technique has the effect of organising a webpage to make it much easier to navigate, rather than just listing information and web-links on top of one another in a total monotone, DOS style.
When we process visual information, organisation of images and text can be critical in making the information easier to process. If we look at the organisation of text on a page, we see that the information is organised by letters, words, sentences, paragraphs and then pages. Paragraphs are the main organisational tool here, because they have no real purpose other than making it easier for the reader (or writer) to organise the information on the page. Their main purpose is to organise larger chunks of information than can fit in a single sentence into complete, distinct sections of text.
The chunking technique is used in a visual processing sense to make it easier to process the information being presented, due to the way our brains work and their potential to be strained by large amounts of visual information.