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Task Layer Maps A multi-disciplinary approach to task analysis AIGA Design Summit Today’s date Foreword Agenda What is a task analysis What is the problem with task analysis What are Task Layer Maps Concrete example Task analysis is… Identified set of tasks

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task layer maps

Task Layer Maps

A multi-disciplinary approach to task analysis

AIGA Design Summit

Today’s date

  • What is a task analysis
  • What is the problem with task analysis
  • What are Task Layer Maps
  • Concrete example
task analysis is
Task analysis is…
  • Identified set of tasks
    • Based on direct user-contact, preferably on-site
    • Display what and how an end-user interacts with a computer to complete a given task
    • Task analysis shows how the status quo, helps set quality standards
    • Reference point for envisioning a new way of working: new scenarios
    • Essential for checking completeness in concept design
problem with task analysis
Problem with task analysis
  • The problem with task analysis is they are often not helpful communication tools
    • They are too specialized, not collaborative
    • Not intuitive: they live in their own world
    • Few beyond the cognitive architect understand them
    • No one else shares their value due to this lack of readability.
    • A few examples will illustrate…
some examples
Some examples:
  • Please don’t scream,what you are about to see is true.
task layer maps are
Task Layer Maps are
  • Based on collaborative principles
    • Represents tasks in an easy to read and follow system
    • Show parallel tasks instead of timed or rule based tasks
    • Over-simplified for overview
    • Customizable for more details per discipline (one size fits all)
task layer map process
Task Layer Map process:
  • Simple meeting of laws of mankind and the laws of nature (or at least parallel processing).
    • Step 1 Make spaghetti
    • Step 2: Straighten spaghetti
    • Step 3 Make Lasagna
step 1 make spaghetti
Step 1: Make Spaghetti
  • List all tasks in a brainstorming session
    • From the user study connect all the tasks in the order they are completed
    • Draw lines of dependency or flow or any other basis for a serial connection from one task to another
    • Any system will do, but multiple scenarios works best
step 2 straighten spaghetti
Step 2: Straighten spaghetti
  • Layer according to time
  • Or possibility of working in parallel
step 3 make lasagna
Step 3: Make Lasagna
  • Normalize the drawing
  • Remove redundant connections
what does this get you
What does this get you?
  • Design/Development team get for the first time
    • Shared artefact, everyone can participate
        • input for speghetti can be anything from natural language scnearios to anyother internal methodology as long as dependency or flows are included
        • Output can be customized, but basis is shared
    • An overview of what they are trying to make
    • A product team lingua franca
    • A method of checking for completeness
    • Improved quality of product/service: everyone can see problems before they are developed.
concrete example
Concrete example
  • The steps needed to complete an experience design project


(Documentation Gathering)

Identify Client Needs

Background Product Research

Product Research

Quick scan

Site Assessment

Competition Analysis

Target Audience Segmentation

High Level UX

Architecture Framework

User Site Visits

User Interviews

User Questionnaire (offline)

User Questionnaire (online)

User Questionnaire (online)

Focus Groups

High Level Requirements


Content Audit

Task Analysis

Requirements Definition

UI Technical Assumptions

Mood Board


Concept Creation

Front-End Requirements

Concept Review

Information Architecture

Product Branding

Story Boarding

Design Rationale

Technical Reality Check

Concept Reiteration

Production Criteria & Template Criteria

Visual Direction

Site Map Construction/Creation

Write Copy/Content

Software Selection

Paper Prototype

Electronic Prototype

Concept Implementation

Cognitive Walkthrough

Usability Testing

Review Prototype


Style Guide

UX-Scope Launch Strategy





the end questions

The end • Questions?

For more information see: