What?

Task Analysis …. What???

Why? When? How?

I know what you’re thinking. What the world is that and why should I care?

Well its simply the process of understanding how someone completes a task on their own, without guidance or prompting.

Task Analysis is essential to the success of any design project and should be done early in the process. It helps you “focus on the user’s problems and reach the simplest most relevant solutions.”

Let’s take a look how it is done. Imagine a design student that lives in a San Francisco flat with a roommate who wants to paint their living room. This scenario definitely takes the “you” out of user. How does the design student go about painting the living room?

STEP 1: Assemble the team
The walls in here look crappy lets do something about it.
The design student and her roommate decide to paint the walls together.

I need help!

STEP 2: Pick a color, any color
So many colors! So many choices!
Eureka! The design student has found the perfect color. However, the roommate remains a little undecided.

Hey I got an idea! What about this paint color?

STEP 3: Don’t forget to buy the materials 
I don’t have the money.
The poor design student doesn’t have the funds, but here comes the roommate to the rescue.

Looks like we need supplies

STEP 4: Prep the room 
Be careful I just bought that.
The design student and roommate repair damaged surfaces, remove the furniture, cover the floors, tape up the trims and mouldings, etc. 
(you get the point)

Wait don’t get paint on that!

STEP 5: Prep the materials 
Alright paint check! Paint brushes ….Uhhh
I think someone’s forgot something.

We got the paint, where’s the paint brushes?

STEP 6: Time to paint 
Pheeeww found the paint brushes
Both get busy painting the walls and trims.

Let’s get painting

STEP 7: Clean Up 
Clean up, clean up, everyone loves to clean up
The roommate figures “I paid for the supplies, so you can clean up”.

Don’t just stand there and watch the paint dry! Clean Up!

STEP 8: Enjoy 
Now it’s time to kick back and relax
Uh oh. The design student doesn’t like the color. Somebody forgot to test the color out first.

Yeah it looks good! Wait … no it doesn’t.

Now you see why task analysis is so essential to any design project and how it works. By mapping out the simple task of painting a living room, you’re able avoid and fix any mistake a user may experience on completing a task. With that in mind you can provide the best solutions.

References

Task Analysis

Task Analysis a UX Designer’s Best Friend

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