Biomapper Prototype


Oct 2, 2013 (5 years and 17 days ago)



Bioinformatics Workflow Tool

Cognitive Walkthrough


November 2010

What is a Cognitive Walkthrough?

A cognitive walkthrough focuses on the usability of the software being evaluated.

It is not a demonstration, focus group or training session.

Each task requires a series of actions to take place in order to complete the task. An
image is shown for each step in the task and the evaluator(you) must work out the
next correct action to take.

Objective is to discover:

A. How easy is the system to learn.

B. Discover any confusing actions(steps) or tasks.

C. Is there enough information for the user to make the next correct step in a


D. Is anything missing.

Why do a Cognitive Walkthrough?

Cognitive Walkthrough is a usability test used in software development.

Developers want to produce usable software but may not be experts in a
domain so rely on experts in the domain(you) for feedback.

Users input is very important, after all they will be using the software!

How does a cognitive walkthrough work?

A series of tasks are “walked through” one at a time

e.g. Create, run, etc.

A walkthrough is done by using images to simulate a user performing a task
with the software. The evaluators (you) are given 5
10 seconds to workout
what to do on each new image in the task, then the user simulating software
explains what to do in the image. This is repeated for many images until the
task is complete.

Usability issues are discovered when evaluators don't understand what the
happened or expected something else to happen in the image.

What must you do?

As each image is shown, imagine yourself as the the user and what you would
do next in the image shown e.g. mouse click on menu. You will be given some
time to do this.

If the actual user does something that you did not expect or you don't
understand... SPEAK UP. This is a usability problem.

There are some points to keep in mind when doing the walkthrough:


Did you recognise the control as the correct one to use as the next step?


Do you think you would have done the step shown?


Does the interface give you a fair opportunity to work out what to do?


Do you think the feedback is meaningful?

Rules of a Cognitive Walkthrough

Looking for problems, not solutions. When a problem is found it is noted and
the walkthrough continues.

The chairperson (John) may cut discussions short to keep the meeting on track,
but issues raised will be noted and followed up after the meeting.



is a bioinformatics workflow tool.

A workflow is a series of activities, as one activity finishes the next activity begins.


goals are:


Make building workflows user friendly


Easy to learn and use


Provide data management facilities


Provide tractability


Provide security


Produce publishable output


There are 3 tasks to walkthrough:

Create a workflow template

Change default settings in the created template.

Run the workflow.

Task 1. Create a Template

The workflow template we build will perform 3 different activities.

Similarity Search using

on a protein sequence


sequence Alignment using


tree analysis using


Task 1. Create a Template

Task Completed!

Any suggestions/comments on usability?

Task 2. Change settings

The settings for the web services are on the default settings. The user wants
to change the settings in order to narrow the search and produce a better(but
slower) multiple alignment.


change the Matrix algorithm from Blosum62 to Blosum80. Also
search the

Bacteria database.



change the

alignment type from fast to slow.

Task 2. Change settings

Task Completed!

Any suggestions/comments on usability?

Task 3. Run Workflow

The user wants to run the workflow.

The protein sequence to use in the search query must be entered.

Task 3. Run Workflow

Walkthrough Completed!

Any suggestions/comments on usability?