This short insight is from of our Methods series: A discussion of useful working practices and ideas for better ideation and execution. We discuss what each method is, why they are useful, and how to utilize them.
An evaluation method where people work through a set of tasks, asking questions about the tasks as they go.
To quickly assess whether a design is easy and/or performs as intended for a new or an infrequent user. It dissects why it is or isn't easy. This exercise helps identify big issues at any stage throughout the process when you don't have access to real users... but it is worth noting it is not an exact substitute for user evaluation.
A related methodology to Cognitive Walkthrough is Heuristic Evaluation. On the surface both Cognitive Walkthrough and Heuristic Evaluations appear very similar; however, one seeks to understand how certain features would be perceived and interacted by new and infrequent users' while the other seeks to understand usability issues measured against common heuristics. With this in mind, it's important to note that both Cognitive Walkthrough and Heuristic Evaluation are not substitutes for User Evaluation that measures actual users' perspectives.