OK - so after conversations with several people, all of whom I've been
talking with separately, here are some hypotheses that seem to be taking
1) "The difficulty of completing a task is a function of the number of steps
involved in the task and the time it takes to perform each step."
2) "The time it takes to perform each step in a task is a function of the
relative complexity of the step and a person's willingness and/or ability to
understand and complete the step."
3) "The more difficult a task, the less likely it is to be completed."
I think this is worth exploring, and apparently several other people do as
well, so I wanted to start a new thread to keep in all going in one place
instead of managing several different threads.
The wording of these statements is the key source of debate so far. Mainly,
I'm not sure "difficulty" is the right word, but "cognitive load" is a
little too technical. I'm erring on the side of simplicity.