I set about defining some user goals and doing a task analysis of how a user would complete those goals! Firstly, what do those phrases mean?
This is any goal a user might have, such as “make an account” or something more general. A user goal for Spotify might be “listen to music” or “find some new bands”.
Task analysis involves splitting down the steps to achieve a goal. So you could perform a task analysis on “Bake a Cake” and include steps like “Measure the flour” and “Mix ingredients together”
The simple user goals I identified for my comedy discovery service are:
- Make an account
- Find a gig to go to
- Rate comedians
- Find an act you might like
For each goal, I started writing out a list of steps, but it became complicated. There were some decision points, and I was making mistakes. I decided to put the steps on post it notes instead, so I could move them around and add steps or remove them.
This really helped, and once I’d got the process nailed down on post it notes, I copied it onto paper, using a flow chart style.
Task Analysis: Things I learned
Performing this Task Analysis helped me think about some processes within my site.
I don’t like the idea of individuals being able to give publicly 1-5 star viewable ratings for a comedian, there is too much potential for disaster there. Goodreads lets you rate books that way, but I don’t know of a service that lets you rate bands like that, for example.
Instead, thinking about the user goal helped me work out what really needs to happen here. I’ll just allow users to add Comedians to three lists:
“Comedians I like”
“Comedians I want to check out”
“Comedians I don’t like”
(I have a lot of thoughts about how algorithms should end up using these lists to recommend new comedians but that’s a dilemma for later in the process.)
My “Make an account” flowchart is a bit feeble, I think. Onboarding is a fascinating process. The fabulous UserOnboard.com is an amazing collection of analyses of onboarding on different sites.
The process of making an account and being welcomed into the site will require a lot more attention, but it was good to start thinking about it. For example, I realised that the information I need to collect from new users initially is very minimal, so the sign up form can be really short, which is great. Also I started thinking about what will happen after the user is signed up and back on the site, they should be directed towards areas of the site which will get them started.
Finding Acts and Rating Acts
During the task analysis of finding new acts, I realised that really the process for searching for acts the users knows and rating them is the same as finding acts to actually discover them. This hadn’t occured to me before, although it seems obvious now. There was duplication in the flow chart, and on the site this will probably just be one area called “search comedians” or similar.
Finding Gigs to Go to
This brought up some interesting ideas. Firstly I don’t intend to be a ticketing platform – not at this stage anyway 😉 – so the “Book Tickets” stage of this flowchart would just be a link to other sites. Lots of gigs in London are free to attend, and I want to promote those gigs, so this is something to bear in mind.
The last stage on this flowchart is “Add to Calendar” which could refer to the user’s personal Google Calendar (i.e. coding a little microdata to help them add the gig to their calendar). It also brought up for me the idea of onsite calendars, so users can show off what gigs they’re going to, or see where their friends (or comedy lovers they admire) are going.
As always, getting stuff down on paper helps to think things through!