Task flow analysis

Decide

What it is

A step-by-step analysis of a common task a user must perform that diagrams the various touch points and decision points a user goes through to accomplish the task. The touch points should be represented as steps taken by the user, as well as steps taken by the system.

Reasons to use it

To illustrate in a solution-agnostic way the overall flow that a user progresses through to accomplish a single task. Task flow analysis also demonstrates the relationship between tasks, and how they interconnect across a site.

Time required

Medium: 1-2 hours per task

How to do it

  1. Identify the task(s) that need to be analyzed.

  2. Break each high-level task down into the subtasks and decisions that the user or system must perform. Specify the subtask in terms of objectives. Across all subtasks, you should cover the whole area of interest. Don’t make assumptions about which steps are understood.

  3. Produce a layered task diagram of each subtask and decision point. The diagram must cover each step or decision necessary to accomplish the task.

  4. Annotate the layered task diagram to pinpoint areas of interest, risk, or potential frustration.

  5. Present the analysis to a potential user or stakeholder who was not involved in creating the diagram(s) but who knows the task(s) well enough to check for consistency and accuracy.

Applied in government research

No PRA implications. No information is collected from members of the public.

Additional resources: