Project Assignment 9 – Cognitive Walkthrough

All students are required to attend all presentations in their respective classes and to provide feedback to each team.

Your team will prepare slides and a paper prototype for your cognitive walkthrough. The cognitive walkthrough will provide the graduate students the material they need to perform their heuristic evaluations. Although you will have 20 minutes for your cognitive walkthrough, your presentation should last 10 minutes or less to allow time for Q&A

Reading List

To prepare for your cognitive walkthrough, read

Assignment Description

You should prepare a paper prototype and slides for your cognitive walkthrough. Assignment details follows.

Paper Prototype

Your team should sketch all major views. The sketches can be neatly hand drawn or you may use drawing software, Flash or other software. The sketches can use sticky post-it notes to represent interacting components of the UI. All sketches and major views should be scanned so that they can be used in the slides for the cognitive walk through.

A good reference for paper prototyping is at Board of Innovation, Resources & Tools for Paper Prototyping.

Use Scenarios

Use scenarios are verbal descriptions demonstrating single instances of using the app. The use scenario also motivates the use by initially giving the context of the use.  Using the personas that your team has created, you should prepare at least two use scenarios, one for nominal task performance and the other illustrating error handling. You may also add a scenario for instruction-seeking. The use scenarios should demonstrate the depth of your system meaning it should not be a trivial example of using the system. Try to demonstrate as much functionality as possible.

Barnum (Usability Testing Essentials: Ready, Set…Test! Morgan Kaufman, 2010) defines scenarios as stories about “the user in pursuit of a goal” (99). Although they will include tasks that users engage in with technology in pursuit of goals, their focus is on why users are using a product to complete certain tasks, not how they are doing so. Scenarios help designers to understand user motivation and possible sources of frustration and also why, and whether, they are likely to carry out the tasks that the designers envision.

Other Content

Citizen science apps should be more than collecting information from users through forms. They are also a media for a communication between the scientists and users. Consequently, apps will generally have content that for example explain the project, explain the science and present results from the project. These content should be presented in your Cognitive Walkthrough.

Although your team may believe that your app is intuitive, the users will need help. Your design should consider how to help the user use the app. The techniques for assisting user and views that instructor the user should be part of the Cognitive Walkthrough.

Usability Goals and Concerns Lists

You should have two usability lists: usability goals and usability concerns. Usability goals are usability principles that you used to help guide your design. Usability concerns are potential usability problems that you hope you have designed for but may be uncertain of the success of your design.

Meeting with Graduate Students/UX Consultants and Scientist/Clients and Instructor

Meeting with UX Consultants

When your paper prototype and slides are complete, your team should meet with your UX consultants/graduate students performing the heuristic evaluation for your app. You should provide your UX consultants/graduate students with any additional documents they may need. This can include:

  1. The slides for your walkthrough
  2. More paper prototypes

Your UX consultants/graduate students will need a link to your walkthrough presentation slides and paper prototypes so that they can use them for their heuristic evaluation. Your UX consultants/graduate students will give you a link to their usability testing plans. Your website should include these links.

Meeting with Scientist/Clients

After your Cognitive Walkthrough, you should meet with your scientists/clients to get their feedback. Contact your scientists/clients before your presentation to schedule the meeting. The meeting should occur with one to three days after the presentation.

Meeting with Instructor

I will email to the class email list, the schedule for the Design Review with me. The Design Review will occur the week following the Cognitive Walkthrough.

Cognitive Walkthrough Presentation

After preparing slides for your cognitive walkthrough, post them on your team website. The slides should have at least two use scenarios (described above), but you may have time only to present one use case. The nominal task performance scenario should be presented first. Only if you have sufficient time will you present the use case demonstrating error handling.

Outline for Walkthrough Slides

  1. Title slide with app name, team name, and date (single slide)
  2. Title slide for cognitive walkthrough/Use Scenario Name (single slide giving the name of the usage)
  3. Description of users and environment (single slide)
  4. Use scenario description (single slide)
  5. Paper prototype views (sequential slides illustrating the use)
  6. Any other app content, such as instructional content or “help” views.
  7. Usability Goals and Concerns (single slide)

Format for Walkthrough

All members of the team should be present during the walkthrough.

One or two members of your team will conduct the walkthrough by demonstrating the interaction, action by action. This should take only 7 minutes.

After finishing the walkthrough, the conductors should pause to give evaluators time to respond by pointing out usability problems or giving design ideas. The evaluators are the rest of the class. This should take another 7 minutes.

Two member of your team will record the usability problems or design ideas. These notes should be posted on your website the evening of the walkthrough.

Submit on Canvas and Due Date

Post your slides for your cognitive walkthrough on your team website before your presentation. Submit the URL to your slides on canvas. I will give you feedback on your cognitive walkthrough after your team presentation.

Grading Rubric

I will evaluate your Cognitive Walkthrough by promptness and completeness, and I will give feedback in particular about:

  • Promptness includes posting the slides on your website and starting your presentation quickly.
  • The presentation. The voice of the speaker, eg can I hear and understand the speakers. Most Important is how speakers respond to questions or critiques. Are the answers respectful. Are the answers defensive. Defensive answers indicate that the person answering is not listening to the content of the critique, rather is thinking more about defending their design decision.
  • The slides of the presentation, for example the proper amount of text and font size. Good use of visuals in slides.
  • The description of users. Are the users appropriate? Does the description of the users create concrete vision of the user type.
  • The use scenarios. Are the use scenarios appropriate? Are the scenarios comprehensive.
  • Other content. Is other content displayed properly. Does the app design have the correct techniques for assisting the user?
  • The design of the app. I will try to seek where the design might fail. So this feedback is typically focus on negative aspect of the app, but the critiques are intended to improve your app design.
  • The usability goals and concerns. Are these goals and concerns appropriate and unique for this app. The usability goals and concerns should not be general usability principles. They should be concrete and specific for your app design.

Prepare for Next Assignment

The following assignments are to get feedback after your cognitive walkthrough. Read