Capturing and understanding the user’s perspective of their tasks.
When to use Task Analysis:
Before starting UI designs. When you want to define what the users’ problems are.
When you want to find ways to remove or automate specific task steps, thereby helping the user achieve their desired outcome with fewer steps or less dependence on user knowledge. Create design decisions: impart knowledge to users at decision points OR optimise task to require only knowledge that all users will have.
Setting UI design optimisation goal by determining which scenario represents the most common usage pattern of your users.
Where to do it
Avoid documenting the process of using the current technology. If possible, look at how people do the task without technology.
Things I look for in my user observations:
1. What triggers users to start their task.
2. What knowledge will users be expected to know while doing a task.
3. What resources (information or tools) do users use in the course of doing the task.
4. What knowledge users actually need to know to complete their task.
5. How users will know when their task is complete.
Diagram the Task Flow
Start with a high-level overall task flow, then create more detailed task flows for each of the separate tasks.
Each task flow should document the following:
1. Objects, tools, or information that users need.
2. User’s questions or issues about the task.
3. Steps the system can do.
4. Actions that users need to do.
Optimise the Task
Start the process with the desired outcome and work backwards up the task flow.
The goal is to find ways to eliminate user steps, getting the system to do more of the work for the user.