Why Is Task Analysis Mapping So Damn Important?

Learn how to paint your walls like a pro

What exactly is Task Analysis Mapping?

Task analysis is the process of learning about users by observing them in action to understand in detail how they perform their tasks and achieve their intended goals. The mapping part is about creating a beginning to end step-by-step sequence based on results from the observation.

It is crucial to know the steps involved for the end users to achieve their goals prior to the beginning of any design project. By doing so will help the design team to create the simplest and most relevant solutions to those problems. Once the solutions are established — incorporating them in the design will deliver better user experiences.

How is it done?

In this article I will walk you through step-by-step how to go about creating task process maps and why they’re so damn useful in the first place using a life project example.

Here’s a little background on the project:

I am a design student renting a shared apartment in San Francisco’s Mission District. I have recently noticed that the living room walls in my apartment are in dire need of a new paint job.

My goal here is to outline all of the steps that it takes to paint a living room. I began by breaking down possible steps and variables involved in this task.

Setting criterias

By stating out possible obstacles helps me to make better decisions while designing my task process flow.

Mind map of possible outcomes

Anticipating possible outcomes and reactions from my landlord is an important step since this will directly affect my decision making process. (In this case I have decided to go with the helpful landlord route which is being highlighted on the mind map.)

It is important to set criterias and expectations at the beginning of planning stage to avoid future misconceptions down the road.

After gathering all the necessary information, I am ready to tackle the task mapping process.

Process mapping

I have decided to keep the process within 8 steps. The reason behind that is because it is important not to get caught in what is loosely termed “analysis paralysis” where more and more detail is investigated. By keeping it short and concise makes it easier to quickly showcase the idea across the team.

With the process map in place we are ready to move onto the storyboard.

My takeaways from this project

By mapping out the task process from beginning to end, I have gained a tremendous insight towards anticipating various outcomes based on human behaviours. Without doing so I wouldn’t have the opportunity to explore different methods on simplifying complex ideas and problems.

Using this approach could potentially help me avoiding the mistake of automating the frustrations that already exist or repeating past mistakes.

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