Task Analysis

You can learn a lot about your design or how you should develop your design; simply watch how users perform their tasks. Often users will employ methods that are not obvious to your developers. Watching users will enable you to consider their mental model in your design. This will result is a more usable design.

Task analysis involves:

  • Finding out the user’s tasks
  • Observing how the user performs the tasks
  • Exploring the user’s workflow to see if it can be made more simple
  • Incorporating the user’s mental models in the design
  • Optimising the design
  • Usability testing

The design task largely consists of analysing the user’s everyday tasks and workflows and transforming this into a usable and simple design. Care must be taken to preserve the user’s mental models. Conflict between the user view and the developer view will result in a non-optimal design, which the users may resist or suffer errors and productivity loss.

Once you have a design it must be tested to see how it is received by the users. This should be done as early as possible before a full implementation is produced.

Usability testing is an effective way to rapidly identify any problems in your design. Even exposing the design to a small number of users gives you a good idea of typical behaviours in the broader population. Usability testing can be very cost effective because you get a lot of information from few users very quickly.

Phinetune are experienced ex-developers who now work in the area of design usability and can help you to analyse your users’ tasks and perform usability testing to identify existing design issues. The best time to fix something, of course, is right at the beginning and Phinetune can help you there too by getting in at the very start of your project and help you to create a good design by working with the developers and speaking their language.

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