User-centred prioritization of content and use cases.

Top Task Analysis

Top Task Analysis identifies the tasks that users want to accomplish with your product frequently, and those that only play a minor role. This allows for user-centred and evidence-based prioritization of content and resources.

Top Task Analysis

What is Top Task Analysis?

Most websites suffer from too much content. Each stakeholder has their own belief of what is important to the users, and corresponding content is generated quickly. A landing page here, a glossary there, maybe some FAQs. A wide offer cannot be bad, right? However, the users’ reality looks quite different. There are few but important tasks that users want to accomplish with your product. Those so-called top tasks make up a large part of the product’s use.

Experience shows, that 5 % of tasks are responsible for 25 % of usage. Opposed to that, usually 60 % of the content accounts for only 20 % usage. More content makes finding important content much more difficult.

A Top Task Analysis gives you a clear, evidence-based answer to the question of what the most important tasks and content for your website or application are. This enables you to prioritize where the value for your users is the highest.

Our approach to Top Task Analysis

In the first phase, our experts analyse a variety of sources to identify potential tasks for your product. The goal is not to forget any task. Possible sources include a content audit, used search terms (application and Google), analytics, available user research results, help desk and support requests, competitors and internal company sources.

In the next step we narrow down the list of all possible tasks together with your project team. This new shortlist should represent all areas of the application, be written in the users’ language, and not contain overlaps between tasks.

Ultimately, the shortlist is part of an online survey in which users select the tasks that are most important to them. We also collect relevant data on user groups or segmentation.

Our experts analyse the survey, work out relevant correlations and present the results in a comprehensive report.

What can we find out with a Top Tasks Analysis?

  • How should the information architecture be structured?
  • Which content should be revised or produced?
  • Which features should you prioritize?
  • Do user groups differ in their needs?
  • Where are critical gaps in the knowledge about your users?
  • How well does your image of the user match reality?
  • Which user research questions are the most important ones?

When do we recommend a Top Task Analysis?

In our projects we frequently notice that there are uncertainties or even disagreements in the customer’s team about who the most important users are and which solutions the product should offer to the users. However, understanding the users and their needs is essential to provide the best possible product to users.

Analytics data or Usability Tests only paint a fragmented picture in this case. Analytics analyses do not show which tasks are not yet supported by the application or which task was the trigger for a page view. Website visits often reflect a combination of different tasks. Usability Tests on the other hand tell you how to optimize the usability for certain tasks – but which tasks you should look at remains unanswered. If you know your users and their top tasks, you can prioritize where it really matters.

On this basis, methods such as Card Sorting and Tree Testing help you to build a user-centered information architecture.

The method is particularly suitable in these cases:

  • You want to revise the information architecture or the navigation.
  • New content is constantly being produced.
  • You want to prioritize features.
  • The website or app is extensive and complex.
  • There is no knowledge or only assumptions about the most important user goals.
  • Decisions are made based on beliefs rather than evidence.
  • There is a dilemma between strategic focus on new customers versus existing customers.
  • There is only little collaboration across departments in creating and prioritizing content.

What are the results?

Our results report includes a clear presentation and prioritization of all tasks. You receive a precise and evidence-based list of the most important tasks that users want to accomplish with the help of your application.

Based on this data, we can investigate more complex questions through further in-depth analyses, e.g. whether there are major differences in the top tasks between user groups or segments. Or are there typical clusters within the tasks?

Once the most important tasks of your users have been identified, you have laid the foundation for an efficient, intuitive navigation structure. You can prioritize content and features based on user needs and continuously measure and optimize their success.

Do you have specific questions concerning your project? We are happy to advise you. Free of charge and without obligation.

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Result of the Top Task Analysis

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