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84. Task Analysis - Pg. 174

ReseaRch MethoD · synthesis / analysis techniqUe 84TaskAnalysis Task analysis breaks down the constituent elements of a user's work flow, including actions and interactions, system response, and environmental context. Traditionaltaskanalysisholdsascientificviewofhumaninteractionswithinsystems,isolating keyelementsofhumanbehavior,productorsystembehaviorsandresponsestohumanactions, theprovisionofsystemfeedback,andthecontextinwhichtasksoccur.Suchanalysesareusually expressedformallyinflowchartsorotherstructuredvisuals,indicatingtasksandsubtasks,keydeci- sionpoints,andhuman-systemresponsecycles.Thisanalyticprocessstemsfromtimeandmotion studiesinindustrialengineering,scientificmanagement,andearlyhumanfactors. 1 Whilethislevelofformaltaskanalysiscanplayacriticalroleinunderstandinguserbehaviorsin context,designerswillmoretypicallyemployabroaderdefinitionofthemethod,incorporatinga blendofqualitativeandquantitativeapproachestogaininsightintouserandtaskprocesses. 2 Task inthissenseisnotisolatedtomeancompletionofaspecificjob,butratherencompassesabroad definitionofanyphysicalactionsandmentalprocessesasactivitiesusedtoachievegoals,andinfor- mationflowswithinthesystemenvironment.Taskanalysisisusefulforalldesigndisciplines,with relevantapplicationsrangingfromnavigationofprintdocumentsandsoftwaredeviceinteractions towayfindinginthebuiltenvironment. Taskanalysisissimilartocontextualinquiry,becausetheyemploymanyofthesamemethods, 1.Crystal,Abe,andBethEllington."Task AnalysisandHuman-ComputerInteraction: Approaches,TechniquesandLevelsof Analysis."Proceedings of the Tenth Americas Conference on Information Systems,2004. 2.Hackos,JoAnn,andJaniceRedish.User and Task Analysis for Interface Design. NewYork:Wiley,1998. 3.Kuniavsky,Mike.Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner's Guide to User Research.SanFrancisco,CA:Morgan Kaufmann,2003. 4.Seenote3above. 5.Kirwan,B.,andL.K.Ainsworth.A Guide to Task Analysis.London;Washington,D.C.: TaylorandFrancis,1992.