Cognitive Walkthrough


The cognitive walkthrough is a usability evaluation method in which one or more evaluators work through a series of tasks and ask a set of questions from the perspective of the user. The focus of the cognitive walkthrough is on understanding the system's learnability for new or infrequent users.

The cognitive walkthrough was originally designed as a tool to evaluate walk-up-and-use systems like postal kiosks, automated teller machines (ATMs), and interactive exhibits in museums where users would have little or no training. However, the cognitive walkthrough has been employed successfully with more complex systems like CAD software and software development tools to understand the first experience of new users.

Tasks Become Processes

Tasks are then divided up into a simple process to follow. So, for example, the login process on a website might look like this:

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The Four Questions to be Asked during a Cognitive Walkthrough

Blackmon, Polson, et al. in 2002 in their paper “Cognitive walkthrough for the Web” offer four questions to be used by an assessor during a cognitive walkthrough:

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