TASK ANALYSIS

Purpose of the report :- As the second assignment for the User Interface Design class, conducted during summer 1995 by Dr. Hodgson.

Goal of task analysis :- To describe the task in sufficient detail that it can be realized in the system.

Time Report :- Time spent on analyzing the assignment :: 00:45
Time spent on analyzing the tasks :: 1:00
Time spent on designing the format of the report :: 1:15
Time spent on creating this report :: 2:30
Total time spent on this assignment :: 5:30

This report analyzes some of the fundamental tasks performed by users using a system that, prepares slide presentations. Care is taken to see that, the analysis & the tasks under consideration are as much as possible independent of any particular system preparing slides. To initially get the feeling of a system preparing slides , the application package Harvard Graphics was observed.

The format of the report is as follows,

Here the term presentation refers to a set of slides, containing interrelated information on any arbitrary subject / topic.

Listing of all the tasks considered

List of the users being considered

End user -
Someone who just views the presentation.
Normal user -
Someone who prepares presentations to a prescribed format, from pre-existing slides.
Expert user -
Someone who uses the system to create many kinds of presentations.

List of the objects being considered

The trem subject often mentined in the report, refers to the person performing the task.

Task : Browsing / Viewing a presentation

Description :
Here the task is to browse or view through a presentation created by yourself or some one else. i.e. typically just a casual viewing of the slide show.
Preconditions :
A presentation should have been previously created , must exist & the subject in consideration must have the permission to view it.
Goals of the task :
To view an already created / existing presentation & understand the contents of the slides.
Breakdowns :
Flow of the task should be smooth, unless (a) slide[s] is [are] missing from the presentation. When the slides are not arranged in the correct sequence.
Post conditions :
Giving permission to the subject to view the presentation.
Agents :
Subject who is going to view the presentation & if the subject is different from the person who created the presentation then the creator too, as he gives the subject to view the presentation.
Objects :
Slides in the presentation. System being used to view the presentation.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system used to view the slides, Set up the slides in the presentation into the system, view the current slide, move on to the next slide, after viewing the presentation remove the slides from the system, switch off the system.
Critical features :
System used to view the presentation must function correctly, slides should be in the correct sequence & the design of the slides should be such that they convey the information present in them to the user at the end of the session.

Task : Creating a slide

Description :
The task is to create a single slide using the system( software package / conventional transparent slide, pen). i.e. typically the task performed by beginners to learn the system.
Preconditions :
System (Compute / Table) is available to create the slide, required tools( Application software :- Text editor, Conventional system :- Pen) are available, a slide (Application software, Transparent sheet) is available.
Goals of the task :
To create a slide using the system, that conveys information concisely & clearly to the people. Learn to use the system to create a presentation of slides.
Breakdowns :
When certain features the subject is familiar with & expects, to be in the system to develop the slide are in fact not available. The subject realizes that the style of the slide is not appealing, after completing 90% of the task.
Post conditions :
Subject has learnt how to use the system. Subject gives permission to other people to view the slide.
Agents :
Subject who is creating the slide.
Objects :
Slide being created, system being used to create the slide, tools being used to create the slide.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system used to create the slide, use the tools & create the slide, after creating the slide, switch off the system.
Critical features :
System used to create the slide must function correctly, tools to create the slide must operate correctly, subject should have a clear initial picture of the format & style of the slide.

Task : Creating a simple routine presentation

Description :
Here the task is to create a simple routine presentation using the system( software package / conventional transparent slide, pen). i.e. typically the task performed by occasional / normal users by referring to a prescribed format or from similar pre - existing slides. The presentation is assumed here to contain very little or no graphics at all, no logos, no interactive steps; in short completely text oriented.
Preconditions :
System (Compute / Table) is available to create the slide, required tools( Application software :- Text editor, Conventional system :- Pen) are available, slides (Application software, Transparent sheet) are available, a prescribed format or some previously created slides are available, user knows how to handle the system to create slides from given formats.
Goals of the task :
To create a simple presentation using prescribed format guide lines that tailors to the needs of the subject. The style & format of the slides adhere to the prescribed formats & the slides should be able to present the information contained in them clearly.
Breakdowns :
When certain features the subject is familiar with & expects, to be in the system to develop the slides are in fact not available. When the slides are not sequenced correctly in the presentation. The subject is unable to use the tools present to create the document in the prescribed style.
Post conditions :
Presentation is created & the slides are in the correct sequence. Subject gives permission to other people to view the presentation.
Agents :
Subject who is creating the presentation, if applicable the person(s) giving the subject the format for the presentation.
Objects :
Presentation being created, slides constituting the presentation, system being used to create the presentation, tools being used to create the presentation.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system used to create the presentation, use the tools & create the slides in the prescribed formats, after creating the presentation review the slides in the presentation, switch off the system.
Critical features :
System to create the presentation must function correctly, tools to create the presentation must operate correctly, slides in the presentation must be sequenced in the correct order.

Task : Creating an innovative, interactive & artistic presentation

Description :
Here the task is to create a more complex presentation involving the insertion of graphics , logos, branch options etc. i.e. the task of an expert user who prepares all types of presentations.
Preconditions :
System (Compute / Table) is available to create the slide, required tools( Application software :- Text editor, graphic tools, tools to insert logos, Conventional system :- Pen) are available, slides (Application software, Transparent sheet) are available, the facility to provide branching options within the slides.
Goals of the task :
To create a presentation that bears all the characteristics of an expert user. The style & format of the slides should be appealing & innovative. Bearing to the constraints of the particular system being used, provide minimum facilities of branching between the slides so that the user has the feeling of participating in the presentation.
Breakdowns :
The expert user does not lives up-to his capabilities. When the slides are not sequenced correctly in the presentation. The branching between slides, to provide interaction is awkward & not clear.
Post conditions :
Presentation is created & the slides are in the correct sequence. Subject gives permission to other people to view the presentation.
Agents :
Subject who is creating the presentation.
Objects :
Presentation being created, slides constituting the presentation, system being used to create the presentation, tools being used to create the presentation.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system used to create the presentation, use the tools & create the slides in the prescribed formats, insert graphics, logos etc. in the slides, providing facility for interaction, after creating the presentation review the slides in the presentation, check if they are in the correct sequence, check if the interaction provided makes sense & is clear, switch off the system.
Critical features :
System to create the presentation must function correctly, tools to create the presentation must operate correctly, slides in the presentation must be sequenced in the correct order, the interaction provided by the presentation must be clear & meaningful.

Task : Inserting a logo into the presentation

Description :
Task is to insert a logo into a presentation( may be an existing one or the one being created).
Preconditions :
System (Compute / Table) is available to create the slide, required tools( Application software :- Text editor, Conventional system :- Pen) are available, presentation available to insert the logo.
Goals of the task :
To insert a logo into the presentation, so as to give the presentation it's correspondence to a particular theme, company, operation etc.
Breakdowns :
The logo chosen to insert is considered to be inappropriate after completing the task.
Post conditions :
The presentation has a logo. Subject gives permission to other people to view graphic image in the presentation .
Agents :
Subject who is inserting the logo.
Objects :
Presentation being used, the logo being inserted, slides constituting the presentation, system being used , tools being used to insert the logo.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system, select the slides(usually all) in which the logo has to be inserted, insert the logo, review the presentation, switch off the system.
Critical features :
System should function correctly, the logo chosen must be appropriate, the positioning of the logo in the slides of the presentation must be appropiate.

Task : Inserting graphics into the presentation

Description :
Task is to insert graphics into a presentation( may be an existing one or the one being created).
Preconditions :
System (Compute / Table) is available to create the slide, required tools( Application software :- Text editor, graphic tools, Conventional system :- Pen) are available, presentation available to insert the graphics.
Goals of the task :
To insert graphics into the presentation, so as to convey certain some contents in the presentation pictorially, as we all know a graphical representation of some information is more clear than numerous lines of text explaining about the information's central theme.
Breakdowns :
The particular system does not support the advanced graphic tools for creating that particular image.
Post conditions :
The graphic image serves it's purpose. Subject gives permission to other people to view graphic image in the presentation .
Agents :
Subject who is inserting the graphics.
Objects :
Presentation being used, the graphic image being created, slides constituting the presentation, system being used , tools being used to insert the graphics.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system used to create insert the graphics , select the slides in which the graphic images are to be inserted, insert the graphic images, review the presentation, switch off the system.
Critical features :
System to insert the graphics must function correctly, the graphics must be inserted correctly into their corresponding slides, the graphs must visualize the information they intend to portray correctly.

Task : Creating a style template for the presentation

Description :
Creating a style template for a presentation so that all the slides in the presentation look uniform in style. The presentation may be an existing one or the one is being created now.
Preconditions :
System (Compute / Table) is available to create the style template, required tools( Application software , Conventional system :- Pen) are available, presentation for which the style template is being created exists.
Goals of the task :
To create style template, so as to give the presentation a pleasing & uniform look.
Breakdowns :
The style chosen cannot be created using the system. The style chosen is not appealing.
Post conditions :
The presentation has a uniform style. Subject gives permission to other people to view the presentation .
Agents :
Subject who is creating the style template.
Objects :
Presentation being used, the style template being created, slides constituting the presentation, tools being used to create the style.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system, select a style, create a style template, create(if the presentation already exists change the presentation's style to the style of the template) the presentation using the style template, review the presentation, switch off the system.
Critical features :
System should function correctly, the style chosen must be appealing & pleasing, the system in question must support the style being considered for the presentation.

Task : Format text font/size

Description :
Formatting the text (font / size) of a presentation so that all the slides in the presentation are uniform. The presentation may be an existing one or the one is being created now.
Preconditions :
System (Compute / Table) is available to format the text of a presentation, required tools( Application software:- text editor, Conventional system :- Pen) are available, the required format for the text has been chosen, presentation being formatted exists.
Goals of the task :
To format the text in a presentation, so as to give the presentation a uniform look.
Breakdowns :
The format chosen is not available with the particular system, or there are no tools to implement them using the existing application package, the format chosen is not appealing.
Post conditions :
The presentation has a uniform format. Subject gives permission to other people to view the presentation .
Agents :
Subject who is formatting the presentation.
Objects :
Presentation being used, slides constituting the presentation, tools being used to format the presentation.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system, select a format, create(if the presentation already exists change the presentation's style to the format chosen) the presentation using the chosen format, review the presentation, switch off the system.
Critical features :
System should function correctly, the format chosen must be appealing & pleasing, the system in question must support the format being considered for the presentation.

Task : Providing branching options within a presentation

Description :
Providing branching options within a presentation, so as to make the presentation more interactive. In this way we create a atmosphere where the user participates in the presentation.
Preconditions :
System (Compute / Table) is available to format the text of a presentation, required tools( Application software:- text editor, Conventional system :- Pen) are available, the required format for the text has been chosen, system allows the branching options, tools are available to facilitate the branching options. presentation being considered exists.
Goals of the task :
To enhance the presentation's interaction capabilities.
Breakdowns :
The interaction provided is not logical & is inaccurate, the user has to remember a lot of information when branching from one slide to another, system chosen does not provide the facility of branching between slides, application software (holds good in the conventional system also i.e. using pen & transparent sheets) does not support branching facility.
Post conditions :
The presentation provides interaction. Subject gives permission to other people to view g the presentation .
Agents :
Subject who is providing the interaction.
Objects :
Presentation being used, slides constituting the presentation, tools being used to provide the interaction.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system, select a format, create(if the presentation already exists change the presentation's style to the format chosen) the presentation with appropriate branching options, review the presentation, switch off the system.
Critical features :
System should function correctly, the interaction provided must be straight forward & clear, user must be able to perceive the interaction facility with ease, the system in question must support branching options.

Task : Revising a presentation after creating it

Description :
Revising a presentation after creating it so as to make sure the style is appealing, the format chosen is appropriate, the contents in the slides are correct, the slides are placed in the appropriate sequence & any interaction provided makes sense.
Preconditions :
System (Compute / Table) is available to revise the presentation, presentation being considered exists.
Goals of the task :
To make sure the presentation has been created, according to subject's conceptual model of the presentation & expectation from his ideas.
Breakdowns :
Systems malfunctions while revising the presentation, attention diverted while revising the presentation.
Post conditions :
The presentation under consideration is completely revised. Subject gives permission to other people to view the presentation .
Agents :
Subject who had created the presentation.
Objects :
Presentation being used, system to view the presentation.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system, browse the slides in the presentation revising them one by one, switch off the system.
Critical features :
System used to revise the presentation must function correctly, the subject must not overlook any slides, the subjects attention must not be distracted while revising the presentation as there are chances he may over look certain errors.

Task : Printing a presentation

Description :
The task is to print an existing presentation.
Preconditions :
Printer is available to print the slides of the presentation, presentation being considered exists.
Goals of the task :
To acquire a print out of the presentation under consideration.
Breakdowns :
Printer is not available, printer available does not support the format of the presentation. presentation has been printed but the lab assistant to hand in the print out not available.
Post conditions :
A printed copy of the presentation, in the format expected. Subject gives permission to other people to view the print out .
Agents :
Subject who had created the presentation & if applicable the person handing in the printout.
Objects :
Presentation being used, printer, system used to view the presentation.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system, open the presentation , issue a print statement , close the presentation, switch off the system.
Critical features :
Printer available supports the format of the presentation.

Task : Critical review of a presentation

Description :
Critical review of an existing presentation, so as to give an critical opinion ( if applicable) on the overall features of the presentation.
Preconditions :
System (Compute / Table) is available to review the presentation, presentation being considered exists, a critic(if applicable i.e. if the person is other than the subject who created the presentation) is available.
Goals of the task :
To win an critical acclaim for the presentation.
Breakdowns :
System malfunctions during the review, no expert is available to view their opinion.
Post conditions :
The presentation under consideration has been reviewed by a critic. Subject gives permission to other people to view the presentation .
Agents :
Subject who had created the presentation & the critic (if applicable) reviewing the presentation.
Objects :
Presentation being used, system to review the presentation.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system, browse the slides in the presentation reviewing them one by one, switch off the system.
Critical features :
System used to review the presentation must function correctly, an expert available to present his/her opinion, the critic must not overlook any slides, the critic's attention must not be distracted while revising the presentation as there are chances he may over look certain errors, hope the critic does not asks you to repeat the entire process due to major errors in design.

Task : Preparing a summary on the contents of the presentation

Description :
Preparing a short summary of the presentation, to sum up the details of it's contents.
Preconditions :
System (Compute / Table) is available to review the presentation, presentation being considered exists, system(word processor) available to create the summary.
Goals of the task :
To produce a brief summary of the contents of the presentation.
Breakdowns :
System malfunctions during the review, system not available to prepare the summary.
Post conditions :
A summary on the contents of the presentation is created.
Agents :
Subject who had created the presentation or any other person (if applicable) reviewing the presentation.
Objects :
Presentation being used, system to review the presentation, system(typically a word processor) to prepare the summary.
Steps in doing the task :
Start the system, browse the slides in the presentation reviewing them one by one, create the summary using a word processor , switch off the system.
Critical features :
Subject should be able to perceive & understand the contents of the presentation, system to prepare the summary available.

TASK / USER TABLE

                                    



                         
TASK   /  USER	END USER	NORMAL USER	EXPERT USER	
Browsing    / Viewing   a presentation	Often	Often	Often	
Creating   a slide	Never	Sometimes	Rarely	
Creating a simple routine presentation	Never	Often	Sometimes	
Creating a innovative, interactive   & artistic presentation	Never	Never	Often	
Inserting graphics	Never	Rarely	Often	
Inserting a logo	Never	Sometimes	Often	
Creating a style template	Never	Often	Often	
Format text font / size	Never	Often	Often	
Providing branching options	Never	Never	Often	
Revising a presentation	Never	Often	Often	
Printing a presentation	Sometimes	Often	Often	
Reviewing  critically	Sometimes	Sometimes	Sometimes	
Summary	Rarely	Sometimes	Sometimes	

                 

Terminology :

Never -
Subject is never going to perform that task.
Rarely -
Subject may, perform the task only if the need arises.
Sometimes -
Subject performs the task occasionally.
Often -
Subject performs the task on a regular basis.

TASK / OBJECT TABLE

         


TASK / OBJECT	SLIDE	SIMPLE PRESENTATI- ON	INNOVATIVE, INTERACTIV- E ARTISTIC PRESENTATION	
Browsing / Viewing	.40   /  .05	.30   /  .06	.25   /  .12	
Creating	.30   /  .30	.25   /  .32	.20   /  .35	
Inserting graphics	.01   /  .10	.05   /  .10	.10   /  .08	
Inserting a logo	.02   /  .15	.05   /  .15	.05   /  .07	
Creating style template	.04   /  .10	.04   /  .08	.04    /  .07	
Format text font / size	.06   /  .10	.06   /  .07	.06   /  .05	
Provide branching options	.00   /  .00	.00   /  .00	.05   /  .10	
Revising	.05   /  .05	.05   /  .05	.05   /  .05	
Printing	.10   /  .05	.10   /  .05	.10   /  .01	
Reviewing critically	.01   /  .05	.05   /  .05	.05   /  .05	
Summary	.01   /  .05	.05   /  .07	.05   /  .05	

Values in the columns represent :

First part :-
Relative frequency of the task.
Second part :-
Portion of the total time spent on the task.

PSEUDO CODE FOR TASKS

Task : Browsing / Viewing

	task  browse/view  
		{
		   while (slides present in the presentation)    
		       sub task view slides;
		}

Task : Creating a slide




		task  create slide 
		{
		   if(logo has to be inserted)
		        sub task insert logo;
		   if(style template has to be created)
		        sub task create style template; 				   
		   while(graphics to insert)
		        sub task insert graphics;
		    while(text to insert)
		         sub task insert text;
		     while(text to be formatted)
		          sub task format text;
		}


Task : Creating a simple routine presentation


		task  create simple presentation 
		{
                              while (still slides are to be created)
                              sub task create slide {
		                                    if(logo has to be inserted)
		                                         sub task insert logo;
		                                    if(style template has to be created)
		                                         sub task create style template; 				   
		                                    while(graphics to insert)
		                                         sub task insert graphics;
		                                     while(text to insert)
		                                         sub task insert text;
		                                     while(text to be formatted)
		                                          sub task format text;
		                                    }
		}


Task : Creating an innovative, interactive & artistic presentation


		task  create innovative presentation 
		{
                              while (still slides are to be created)
                              sub task create slide {
		                                    if(logo has to be inserted)
		                                         sub task insert logo;
		                                    if(style template has to be created)
		                                         sub task create style template; 				   
		                                    while(graphics to insert)
		                                         sub task insert graphics;
		                                     while(text to insert)
		                                         sub task insert text;
		                                     while(text to be formatted)
		                                          sub task format text;
				          while(interaction facility has to be added)
					  sub task add interaction facility;
		                                    }
		}







Task : Inserting a logo into the presentation



		task  insert logo  
		{
		   while (logo has to be inserted)    
		       sub task use tools to create a logo;
		}

		

Task : Inserting graphics into the presentation



		task  insert graphics  
		{
		   while (graphics has to be inserted)    
		       sub task use tools to create graphics;
		}


Task : Creating a style template for the presentation



		task  create style template  
		{
		   while (style template has to be created)    
		       sub task use tools to create style template;
		}
	

Task : Format text font/size



		task  format text  
		{
		   while (text has to be formatted)    
		       sub task use tools to format text;
		}
	

Task : Critical review / Revise of a presentation



		task  revise/critical review  
		{
		   while (slides present in the presentation)    
		       sub task view slides;
		}

Task : Preparing a summary on the contents of the presentation



		task  create summary  
		{
		   while (slides present in the presentation)    
		       sub task view slides;
		       sub task update the summary contents for that slide;
		}




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Last Changed: 21 June 1995