Comparative User Task Analysis
CUTA stands for Comparative User Task Analysis. In the CUTA method, you want your customers to use a set of cards to describe all of the steps for a particular task. You want to document all of the steps, which might include:
- Mental Activity — which is something your customer must think about
- Technology Activity — using a calculator or looking at an email
- Physical Activity — installing a printer cartridge or walking somewhere
- Non-technology Activity — talking with a supervisor, attending a meeting
You want your customers to breakdown a task beyond your site and app to uncover hidden opportunities to make your product easier to use and learn.
How to Perform the CUTA Method
- Determine the high-level tasks you want your customers to breakdown.
- Provide a brief description of the CUTA method. You may need to have an example to show the different activities (mental, technology, non-technology, and physical) for a specific task.
- Tell them to write an M for mental, T for technology, N or non-technology, and P for physical activity on the top right of each post-it note.
- Your customers create their task flow using the CUTA cards (that they build). The post-it notes can be moved around, as the customers add to or adjust their task flow.
- After they are done, review the task flow with your customer. If you have any questions, you need to ask them now. Make sure you can read their writing.
- Repeat steps 1–5 with as many participants, as desired. You will get good results with 7–8 participants.
- Compare the different task flows. Look for opportunities.
Tips and Tricks
- Consider using different color post-it notes for each type of activity.
- Post smaller post-its on large sheets on paper (roll up and carry away).
- Your customers should do their task flows separately, at first.
- Look for similarities, workarounds, differences, and inefficiencies.
- Find opportunities to make your product better, faster, and smarter.
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