Task analysis

What It Is and What You Learn

Task analysis involves learning about your users’ goals, what they want to do on your Web site and how they work. It can also mean learning about specific task users must do to meet those goals and what steps they take to accomplish those tasks. A task analysis complements a user analysis.

User and task analysis focuses on understanding:

  • what users’ goals and what they actually do to achieve the goals
  • what personal, social, and cultural characteristics the users bring to the tasks
  • how users are influenced by their physical environment
  • how users’ previous knowledge and experience influence how they think about their work and the workflow they follow to perform their tasks

Conducting a Task Analysis

The task analysis may have several levels of granularity. We can ask users what overall tasks they are trying to accomplish or how users currently do that task.

Examples

What overall tasks are users trying to accomplish at our Web site?

  • Trying to find a nursing home near you for an elderly relative.
  • Trying to get information about options for treatment for skin cancer.
  • Trying to sign up to receive an email notice when a payment is due.

How are users currently doing the task?

  • People are completing that task using something other than the web.
  • Users are on our Web site now.
  • Users are using another Web site trying to complete the same or similar tasks.

Benefits of Task Analysis

Tasks analysis allows you to discover what tasks your Web site must support and to determine the appropriate content scope. It also helps you to decide what applications your Web site should include. It can assist you in refining or re-defining the navigation or search to better support users’ goals or to build pages and applications that match users’ goals, tasks, and steps.

Reference: http://www.usability.gov/methods/analyze_current/analysis.html

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