Task Models in UX

If you already have done user research and created the personas for your project, you can jump into the task models. A task model explains and shows how a user interacts and behaves within the application and what tasks need to be performed in order to accomplish a goal. This is essential for product management and product design because it allows you to understand what the user needs to do to get the job done (user needs). It is also a document that is shared across the team to be on the same page on how the product should solve a problem while the user is performing the tasks.

Task models are essential to your product because they are a reference when communicating with your team about a persona and how it should accomplish a goal. You should be able to create a solution that satisfies the needs of the user persona. In addition, it should be updated as much as personas when you find new information in your project, and analytics or user research give you new insights into the tasks and the user. If the task model looks very complex, it would be a good idea to revisit it because the tasks should be simple so the users are not confused when using your application.

Elements of a Task Model

If you want to have a successful task model, it is necessary to have at least the following items:

One of the user personas that you created based on your research.
What needs should be solved by these tasks or steps by the users.
The list of tasks following one after another with some annotations if necessary. These annotations could include the user behavior and emotions that could affect the task. In addition, it could include design suggestions or requirements in order to get to the goal.

It is worth pointing out that this is not the only way that you can create a task model. I recommend the book Communicating the User Experience: A Practical Guide for Creating Useful UX Documentation by Richard Caddick and Steve Cable. Nevertheless, you can use any approach of creating tasks models from just mentioning the personas and creating bullet points with the tasks required to accomplish the goal to a more detailed explanation of feelings, behaviors, and illustrations needed to communicate better the flow that users take. Other teams might choose to go with UML to design the task models. At the end of the day, it is up to you or your team to decide how to create task models.

Task Model Example

Finally, you can download a PowerPoint example of a Task Model. I hope this helps you create better systems. Also, you don’t any expensive software to create this. I would suggest using Google Slides, Pencil, or PowerPoint for this. Visio is another great resource but it is not worth the price for something like this.

Teylor Feliz
Teylor Feliz

Teylor is a seasoned generalist that enjoys learning new things. He has over 20 years of experience wearing different hats that include software engineer, UX designer, full-stack developer, web designer, data analyst, database administrator, and others. He is the founder of Haketi, a small firm that provides services in design, development, and consulting.

Over the last ten years, he has taught hundreds of students at an undergraduate and graduate levels. He loves teaching and mentoring new designers and developers to navigate the rapid changing field of UX design and engineering.

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