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Cognitive walkthrough

What is Cognitive Walkthrough?

Cognitive Walkthrough is a usability evaluation method in which one or more evaluators complete a series of tasks and ask a series of questions from the user’s perspective.

The focus of Cognitive Walkthrough is on understanding the system’s ability to learn for new or infrequent users. This method originally developed as a tool for evaluating walk-through systems such as post office kiosks, ATMs, and interactive exhibits in museums where users had little or no training. However, it has been used successfully with more complex systems such as CAD software and software development tools to understand the initial experiences of new users.

  • Can be done without direct access to users
  • Continues to explicitly consider the user's task, unlike some usability testing methods
  • Provides suggestions for improving system learnability
  • Can be applied at any stage of development
  • Quickly and inexpensively applied when done in an optimized form
  • The value of the data is limited by the skills of the evaluators
  • Tends to yield a relatively superficial and narrow analysis
  • The method does not provide an estimate of the frequency or severity of the problems identified
  • Labor intensive

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