David Sherwin knows what he’s talking about when it comes to interactive design. (Anybody who attended the HOW Interactive Conference can tell you that.) After chatting with him yesterday, I pulled up his piece Can You Say That in English? Explaining UX Research to Clients on A List Apart. It’s meant to help give you the vocabulary to explain user experience testing to clients, but it’s also helpful if you’re just learning the language yourself. Here’s a taste:
What it is in plain English: Observing how people take part in an activity, and then examining what they are thinking and what they are doing as they complete each task, step by step.
Real-world example: A health-care company wants you to improve their claims-processing system. You observe their employees as they use the software to process claims. Then, you go through the process yourself, documenting each step required to fulfill every task. From that analysis, you make recommendations to streamline or improve the process.
Business value: By conducting a task analysis to break down how customers use the website or application, and then using that information for process improvement, you can increase the number of site transactions and create operational efficiencies that save money.
Task analysis provides input into: Personas, user flows, wireframes, navigation schema, the use case / requirements document, the content map, and the site map.