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User and Task Analysis for Interface Design


Copyright 1998

Designing an effective interface doesn't happen by chance. Good design happens only when designers understand who will be using their product, what the users are trying to accomplish, and the circumstances under which users must work. In User and Task Analysis for Interface Design, JoAnn Hackos and Ginny Redish share their experiences in gathering this information directly from users and then applying what is learned to the difficult task of interface design.

User and Task Analysis for Interface Design gets you started on the path toward designing a usable interface. It starts with basic information about what you need to know about users, tasks, and environments and then takes you through a step-by-step process for planning and conducting site visits, including

  • how to build a business case for conducting a user study
  • how to prepare for a user study, including who and what to bring with you, who to talk to, and what to do during the study
  • how to see and hear what users are really telling you
  • how to make sense of the information you have gathered
  • how to translate the results of your study to the design of usable interfaces
  • how to create workflow diagrams, task sequences, user/task matrixes, task scenarios, use scenarios, and other analysis tools

You'll find a variety of techniques and variations on techniques for data gathering, for analysis, and for moving from analysis to design. Each has been tested and proven by experts in the field and each has a specific purpose or situation for which it is best suited. You'll find that different techniques and combinations of techniques are needed on different projects, depending on the issues you need to learn about, the time you have to conduct the study, and your own corporate culture. Pick and choose from among these techniques to formulate your own methods for your specific situation and needs, and then return to the book each time you begin another study to again choose the appropriate mix of techniques.


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