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Pluralistic Walkthroughs 

What is it?

Pluralistic walkthroughs are meetings where users, developers, and usability professionals step through a task scenario, discussing and evaluating each element of interaction. Group walkthroughs have the advantage of providing a diverse range of skills and perspectives to bear on usability problems. As with any inspection, the more people looking for problems, the higher the probablility of finding problems. Also, the interaction between the team during the walkthrough helps to resolve usability issues faster.

How do I do it?

Most pluralistic evaluations involve a large group, with a usability professional as the session leader and facilitator. The group can consist of end users, product designers, documentation staff, and health/safety professionals in addition to usability staff.

Everybody as a group discusses several scenarios derived from end user input. Based on their expertise as usability professionals, or experience as end users, usability problems are identified and classified for future action.

When should I use this technique?

This technique is best used in the early stages of development, as the feedback garnered from pluralistic walkthrough sessions is often in the form of user preferences and opinions.

Who can tell me more?

Click on any of the following links for more information:

Bias, Randolph G., "The Pluralistic Usability Walkthrough: Coordinated Emphathies," in Nielsen, Jakob, and Mack, R. eds, Usability Inspection Methods, 1994, John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY. ISBN 0-471-01877-5 (hardcover)

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