Task Analysis Research Methodology — Simplified!

In week 2, we read about the process of design, and our project at the end of the lesson was Task Analysis Mapping.

After the readings and a little further research on the term, I thought about that ice-breaker exercise where someone has to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in front of a group solely on the exact directions given to them by the audience or a partner. It’s a lesson on effective communication, but it helped me understand the importance of recognizing each step in even a seemly simple process in order to ensure that your end goal is communicated effectively to your user.

I think for this project, I got a little hung up on trying to make nice sketches with little (to no) drawing skills, and a little distracted from the main purpose which was to map out the task of painting an ugly wall given a set of constraints (I live in a rented apartment with roommates and need landlord approval).

My process was as follows:

  1. Problem — I noticed the wall was ugly, and I hated it and wanted to paint it.
  2. Consultation — I consulted with my roommates to get their thoughts/approval on changing the wall (yay! they hate it too!)
  3. Approval — I sought approval from my landlord, who agreed to let us paint the wall (on our dime and time)
  4. Planning — My roommates (go team!) and I researched color options and patterns, and agreed on a choice.
  5. Logistics — We needed paint, supplies, and money to purchase those paints and supplies. We split the cost (via Venmo!). Perhaps a 9th illustration on planning out specific tasks would have been helpful here…
  6. Implementation — We, as a team, got to painting!
  7. Solution — The wall is painted and life is better!

Overall (and minus the terrible drawing skills), I think my task analysis map is pretty adequate, if not missing a step or two. I am interested in looking at what other students came up with, because it seems based on my reading that analyzing different users and what their experience brings to/adds to the process is part of getting a better understanding of communicating to a larger audience. I’m sure they have some steps I didn’t think of or include!

My terribly draw task analysis map.