Running the Task Workshop: A How-To
Before you start
- Communicate the goal of the workshop
- Communicate that an 80 percent complete survey is good enough for the workshop. The final 20 percent adjustments is best done with fewer people after the workshop. Stating this puts participants at ease, avoids lengthy discussions on details and enables quicker execution.
- Recommendations on time:
- Spend most time to plan tasks and audiences
- Spend some time to figure out specific follow-up questions. See template suggestions
- Spend only little time on the standard follow up questions. See template
An introduction to Task Analytics
To get everyone in the workshop on the same page, an introduction to Task Analytics could be necessary. Here are some topics you can include:
Explain what a task is.
Show what the pop-up invitation looks like and how the users interact with it.
Show what kind of data we get.
Explain the terms demand and completion rate.
1) Identify tasks
We start out by slicing the whole scope into tasks; what the users are coming for. Start with the first tasks that come to your mind and browse the website. The expertise on customers, business and website will probably help you to identify more tasks. The hardest part is usually not to find the taks. The job is to refine and trim the task list.
An average sized organization typically ends up with 5 to 50 tasks. It’s often not hard to come up with 100, but then we probably have unnecessary tasks.
Try to find tasks that are pull, not push. A question to help you understand whether a task is pull: “Could the visitor happen to think of this task before his/her visit on our site?”. Yes? Pull. A typical push task is “Sign up to newsletter”. Consider skipping tasks like this.
A task must not necessarily be offered by your company to be in the task list. It is often interesting to check demand on tasks outside the business as you run it today.
2) Organize the tasks
Some tips on how to refine and trim the list:
Prioritize. We don’t need to list all tasks. We need the most important tasks for the business and the most important tasks for the users. Don’t worry about missing out on some small tasks. The users can choose “Other”, and type in whatever they want. Then we get a lot of these “Other”-tasks, we can review the list and adjust our task list accordingly.
Look for similar tasks that can be merged.
Often the combination task list and target groups can help us cut the task list. When you thoughtfully set up target groups (ie. private/business), the same tasks often gain different meaning, when you see it from the perspective of a different target group.
To keep the list manageable to your customers/users, try to limit the number at max 12. If this is not possible, split the task list into two steps. The first step can be a mix of tasks and categories (entry to a sub task list). The next step is a clean task list. Then your task list is possibly 12 times 12, about 150 tasks.
A good way to get the overview and work out the task list is to use stickers on a wall.
it is also possible to use a Kanban board tool like Trello for this. Or directly into the setup in Task Analytics.
4) Look at wording and tone of voice
- Use terms and words your users are familiar with and understand.
- Avoid repeating words in the task list. It makes the list harder to scan. In a list like “Check opening hours”, “Check price”, “Check …”, consider to drop “Check”.
- To make the tasks easier to understand and harder to misinterpret we can use slashes (/) and parentheses. Maybe the same tasks is named differently by different target groups? You want everyone to understand, so a slash can help you writing both versions. Some tasks can be hard to understand without examples. Write some examples in parentheses. Like this:
- Reclaim/return product
- Update profile (name, password etc.)
5) Identify target groups
You can optionally set up target groups - one or more. Set properly, they can provide great insight. Consider a task like “Buy product”. When the data is in place, knowing wether it is the business customers or the private customers (or/and members/not members) who struggle could be crucial to adopt the right measures.
6) Work out the list “What stopped you?”
The answers to this question will tell us what the problem is. This list could differ from task to task. Our list should list the most common reasons for failing. A basic list could be:
- I did not find what I was looking for
- I found what I was looking for, but did not understand the text or what to do
- Technical error
Keep in mind that reasons for failing can be related to:
- Content (misleading menu items, misleading text, misleading pictures, complicated language)
- Organization (a service is not available, product i sold out, product is too expensive, awkward organizational structure is reflected on the site)
- UX (button too subtle, form is confusing) / Universal Design (not optimized for visually impaired)
When you compose the list, try to ask questions that corresponds to these disciplines. Then it is easier to adopt the right measures later.
7) Work out the list “What did you do instead?”
Answers to this question could help us understand what our potential is — if we fix the problem and increase the completion rate.
8) Work out follow-up questions
We can add follow-up questions for certain questions. To keep the pop-up invitation as short as possible, consider to add follow-up questions only at important tasks that we want to know more about.
The follow-up questions could be served to both the users who accomplish the task and the ones that don’t, or it could be a follow-up question to dig more into why the user did not accomplish the task. Ask yourself: “Are there more aspects to this task that we want to know about?”.
And remember, you can and should always on tweaking and optimizing the questions based on the results and feedback you get from participants.
9) After the workshop
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