HP Labs Technical Reports

Applying Cognitive Walkthroughs to More Complex User Interfaces: Experiences, Issues, and Recommendations

Bradford, Janice; Jeffries, Robin; Wharton, Cathleen; Franzke, Marita



Abstract: The Cognitive walkthrough methodology was developed in an effort to bring cognitive theory closer to practice; to enhance the design and evaluation of user interfaces in industrial settings. For the first time, small teams of professional developers have used this method to critique three complex software systems. In this paper we report evidence about how the methodology worked for these evaluations. We focus on five core issues: (1) task selection, coverage, and evaluation, (2) the process of doing a Cognitive Walkthrough, (3) requisite knowledge for the evaluators, (4) group walkthroughs, and (5) the interpretation of results. Our findings show that many variables can affect the success of the technique; we believe that if the Cognitive Walkthrough is ultimately to be successful in an industrial setting, the method must be both refined and augmented in a variety of ways.

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