A cognitive walkthrough is a usability testing method where reviewers perform tasks from the user's perspective. The goal is to discern whether new users can complete tasks on an interface.
How to conduct a cognitive walkthrough?
The first step is to find the right people. Almost anyone can partake in cognitive walkthroughs, but you don't want someone who knows the ins and outs of your product as they would have a preconceived notion of navigating your software.
Develop a set of tasks users may need to do on your site, then use these tasks to do cognitive walkthroughs. Create a path where users bump into zero difficulties when completing a task and see how well your reviewers follow this path. Observe any issues reviewers face completing tasks, then use this information to perfect designs.
What are the benefits of a cognitive walkthrough?
Cognitive walkthroughs are relatively inexpensive compared to user testing. They use reviewers, as opposed to users, which reduces the cost.
Companies can conduct cognitive walkthroughs before developing a product creating more opportunities for renewed design and more insight to determine how to create a product to meet users' expectations.