So, you want to paint a room…

Let’s be honest — you don’t really need to know the steps to paint a room, we’ve all done it at some point in our life. But this simple project is an excellent example of task analysis.

What is task analysis? It’s the in-depth look at all the steps it takes for us, and by proxy our users, to accomplish anything. It’s easy for us as humans to take some steps in accomplishing a task for granted but in reality, it’s these niggly bits that can cause hiccups for our users. And these hiccups can make a great product into a poor one.

We’ll also be examining some points of validated learning so keep your eyes peeled for little nuggets of extra learning squeezed in here!

So let’s dig in!

Step 1: Observe the poor state of the room’s walls. (Notice the problem)

Step 2: Ask your housemates if the state of the room bothers them and when the wall was last painted. (Customer & Concept Validation)

Step 3: Visit the hardware store to determine a budget for the items and tools you need and to select paint chips. (Research)

Step 4: While at the hardware store, consult an expert painter about best practices, common challenges in painting a room, and the best tools for the job. (Expert Research)

Step 5: Email your landlord and arrange to paint the room for free if he covers the cost of supplies. (Present problem, validation, cost to stakeholder.)

Step 6: Present color choices to housemates and evaluate choices based on shared goals. (Present design concept.)

Step 7: Deploy your team (yourself and your housemates) to buy paint, tools, and begin the painting process.

Step 8: After the first coat of paint, evaluate the project status with your housemates and touch up as required. (Revisions & testing)

Step 9: Meet with housemates to revisit the state of the room and the process that went into it. (Future planning)

Step 10: Enjoy happy housemates in your newly painted room! (Launch)

And that’s that — a very basic but easy to understand approach to task analysis.

So the next time you need to think about how your user will accomplish a task in your site or app, consider — have you thought through all the actions they’ll need to do? It’ll make your product even better.