New Task Model Elements for Complex User



New Task Model Elements for Complex User
New Task Model
Elements for Complex
26th Annual IEEE STC
Neta Ezer, Ph.D.
UX Human Factors Engineer
Peter Shimpeno
UX Designer
Complex Domains, Complex User-Software
Complex Domains and Their Challenges
• Complex domains are those with:
– Many types of users with distinct roles requiring specialized knowledge
and skills
• Common and role-specific goals
– Tasks that require teamwork and communication
– Nonlinear workflows
– Dynamic environments with situations that can go from the mundane to
life-threatening in minutes
– Large amounts of data, numerous potential actions, and critical, timedependent decision making activities
– Multiple software systems and numerous potential software functions
– Human-in-the loop automation concerns
A challenge lies in how to design user interfaces for what
users need in the place and way they need them, to make
users as effective, efficient and satisfied as possible
Role of UX in Design for Complex Domains
• User Experience (UX) Process
– Discover: research to
understand the users, tasks
and operational environment
– Imagine: new ideas, quickly
– Invent: detailed designs
– Evaluate: usability
assessments and comparisons
– Produce: final products
Clear communication of users’ needs to program
engineers, software developers and internal customers is
Communication Through the Task Model
• Task models show the tasks that users perform to get them to their goals,
the information they need and their expectations along the way
– They identify and communicate how a system needs to behave to match user
Communication Through the Task Model
A well-researched task model will transform your project. It’s
the most important design deliverable, and for good reason – it
shows what users do, the behavior they adopt, and specific
requirements at each stage. Building a product or service
around these findings is more successful because things
happen when a user wants them to and the information they
are after can be found.
- Communicating the User Experience: A
Practical Guide for Creating Useful
Documentation (Caddick & Cable, 2011)
The UX Process and Task Models
• User Experience (UX) Process
– Discover
– Imagine
– Invent
– Evaluate
– Produce
Task models can be created at different levels of task
decomposition depending on design phase and needs
Basic Elements of the Task Model (Caddick & Cable, 2011)
1 Goal Statement
2 Phases
3 Tasks
4 Workflow
5 Potential Barriers
6 Context & Expectations
Basic User Behaviors (Caddick & Cable, 2011)
A Direct Connections
B Complex Evaluations
C Controlled Evaluations
Additions to Task Models for Complex UserSoftware Interactions
• Basic elements and user behaviors are sufficient for mostly linear,
commercial user-interface interactions
– Fail to address critical components of complex user-software
interactions found in military and similar complex domains
• For complex user-software interactions task models may need to
– Software processes to address potential human-in-the-loop issues or
– Multiple software systems
– Multiple users and roles and how information is exchanged among them
– Serial, parallel and non-linear workflows
• Goal is to maintain simplicity
Software Processes
• Value in representing select software tasks in the task
– Software tasks in which the outcome influences the next
task the user will perform
• Users tasks - highly saturated border
• Software tasks - less saturated version of that same
Software Processes: Direct Connections
• Direct connection: User cannot move to the next task until the
software task is complete or vice versa
– A line between the darker and lighter colored task circles indicates this
direct relationship
E.g., Users cannot complete file review until the software completes file
Software Processes:
Complex & Controlled Evaluations
• Software processes may include complex evaluations and controlled
E.g., A user’s query triggers complex and controlled evaluations by the
software in which databases are queried; data are scored and sorted; and
the results organized into collections that are functionally meaningful to the
Software Processes:
Concurrent User & Software Tasks
• Highlight how users and software work together
– E.g., decision support system
Software Task
• User and software task circles are collocated on
the workflow line
– The use of a more and less saturated colors to
divide human and computer tasks is continued
User Task
Multiple Software Systems
• Users may use different software systems
within the mission workflow
Software used sequentially
• Distinguishing among the software systems
important for two situations
1) There are critical distinctions that constrain
what users can and cannot do with their
• E.g., large bandwidth differences, mobile
vs. desktop
2) The systems have different purposes
• E.g., One system is the customer’s website
for ordering products that feeds information
to software used in the warehouse
responsible for scheduling and delivering
the customer’s order
Software used in parallel
Data Exchange
Multiple Users & Roles
• Show the relationship of tasks for users in different roles
– What they are responsible for and where they come into the overall
• Serial workflow - users may enter and leave the task model at
different times as they start and then complete their role-specific
– Collaboration or exchanges between users occur when one user is
leaving the workflow and another is entering it
• Parallel workflow - users perform their tasks at the same time but
collaborate or exchange information at various points along that
– Users have their own workflow, but rely on activities of other users as
inputs to their own activities and decisions
– It is important to show where the workflows are linked
Multiple Users, Parallel Workflows
1 User Goal Statement
4 Indirect Data Exchange
2 User Icons
3 Software Clients
5 Parallel Workflows
Multiple Users, Serial Workflows
1 User Legend
2 Software
3 User Entry Points
Task Model Success Across Projects
• The new task model elements provide flexibility and scalability for
complex, multi-user systems
• Applied and iterated across projects in intelligence, cyber and missile
defense domains
– Improve communication across designers, engineers and software
– Complements other user research artifacts such as user profiles, user
stories and task scenarios
• Iteration continues to handle new types of workflows and larger user
• UX – User Experience
• User-Centered Design for Missile Defense IR&D
• Northrop Grumman User Experience (UX) Team

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