Task Analysis — Essential UX Research Tool

Anton Rose
Feb 14, 2017 · 2 min read

What is task analysis?

According to Usability.gov, task analysis is the process of learning about ordinary users by observing them in action to understand in detail how they perform their tasks and achieve their intended goals.

Interaction-design.org state that task analysis helps you avoid the mistake of automating the frustrations that already exist or repeating past mistakes. It gets you to the bottom of what the user will want to do and the simplest, most effective way of doing that.

This is an exercise to demonstrate how task analysis can help you find how a user performs a task.

The problem

I am a design student living in a flat in The Mission in San Francisco. The living room walls in the apartment are in dire need of a new paint job. I live with roommates, cash might be an issue and the landlord could pose a problem.

The Solution

Break down the high level project of painting a room into sub-tasks stated in terms of objectives. Sketch them out in the format of a storyboard.

1. Consult with roommates and get agreement to paint the room

2. Ask landlord for permission to paint and ask if he is willing to pay

3. Agree budget with roommates

4. Research approach, process and costs with friends, online and on social media networks

5. Measure room dimensions

6. Visit paint store to get samples and quotes

7. At home agree on colour with roommates

8. Drive to the store and buy materials

9. Collect cash from roommates

10. Remove furniture and furnishings

11. Lay down drop cloth to avoid ruining the carpet

12. Scrape away old paint and repair any damage

13. Tape baseboards, window and door frames

14. Use brush to paint trim areas

15. Use roller for remaining areas

16. Clean up, remove tape and move furniture back

References

https://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/task-analysis.html

https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/task-analysis-a-ux-designer-s-best-friend

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