Step 4: Create Task Scenarios

The way you ask users to complete tasks is paramount to success. You don’t want to reveal the exact order of actions users need to take in order to get from point A to point B. The purpose of user isn’t to direct users towards the finish line, but to give them enough information to complete the journey intuitively — on their own accord.

Be vague in your task scenarios. Share as little information as needed to complete the task. Providing too many instructions can ruin the purpose of the test. Think of it like a mathematical equation. You give users a problem and they have to find the correct formula to solve it.

Here’s an example of a bad task scenario:

Go to the search bar, type in red sandals, select size 8, click on the ‘add to cart’ button and continue to the checkout.

Why it’s bad: You’re not leaving much room for the user to figure out the user flow. Therefore, you can’t guarantee that the user would achieve the same results without explicit instructions.

And here’s an example of a good task scenario:

Explore the website and buy a pair of red sandals in your size using the credit card number provided.

Why it’s good: You’re giving the user a sufficient amount of information on what you want them to do, without revealing too much.

Furthermore, when formulating task scenarios, be sure to incorporate both open-ended and goal-specific tasks. Open-ended questions are great for observing users interact with a product freely without guided interruption, while goal-specific tasks are effective in testing particular features. Both are extremely valuable in user testing when used correctly.

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