Philosophy of User and Task Analysis

The philosophy of minimalism, as it pertains to the tech industry, is that an elegant design is one that simply does what it should, how it should, as fast as it should. Nothing more or less is needed, until it is determined by the user that more or less is needed and then once that happens, the product should comply. The philosophy of user and task analysis rests on concepts of techno-cultural evolution and how it is applied to the development of technology and is the overarching task that serves to select for what is essentially minimalist. The idea is that customers use products as efficiently as they can and that by observing how products are used and what they are used for, developers can evolve processes to be more efficient and intuitive while developing a product that performs necessary tasks as well as those which users wish were included in the current product. Minimalism design is inherently dependent on user and task analysis that is thorough and objectively obtained.

User and task analysis requires the observer to let go of their ego and just collect data.

Product design and documentation focuses on only what is most essential to the customers’ needs. Companies like the minimalist approach because it saves money and time. This seems like an obvious approach eh? Apparently it is new to a lot of people because most people over complicate everything. However, sometimes things are just a bit complicated and we need to clarify the complications, which is what philosophy seeks to accomplish.

As a tech-writer this is very interesting. As a regular human living amongst my tangles this is also very interesting.

Depending upon the complexity of the product and how long it has been on the market, there are a few things one can predict to be true:

  1. There are different levels of users ranging from expert – loves to read the manuals to neophyte – hates reading the manuals to every variation in between. Simply put, there are the go-tos and the always go to someone, types.
  2. Different levels of users use products differently, but one thing is usually true; everyone wants the results as fast as possible. Therefore, the task should be described in the product documentation.
  3. Users skip around to the documentation that is most pertinent to their current task. This may involve a list of what is new, advanced trouble shooting techniques, the installation guide or information on how to switch views.
  4. Nobody wants to wade through white-noise text or marketing material. Users want the nitty gritty of whatever level of information is being sought.

As a human being living amongst my tangles, I realize that I perform user and task analysis on a daily basis and that everyone does this. Each with our own level of competence and idea of what the obstacles are and the tasks are. Each of us is limited by our imaginations and creativity so it is always a good idea to have a lot of both. Every time we pack our day or life full of tasks and goals, then decide the most efficient way to get them all done, dream of what would make it easier such as a new freeway built to serve us personally, a wormhole for porting ourself wherever needed, or a time travel machine to navigate back and forth in time so that we can fit more into each day we are our own user, and developer built into one sentient being. To accommodate our life design, to meet our emerging needs as they are selected for by our own introspective process of user and task analysis, we need to get rid of walls and simplify. We must get to the nutshell of each task and just perform that in a separate and simple act. But first you must be able to imagine what that simple act is. Performance of a task becomes the quintessential act of design implementation.
This brings me to agile development which is the ability to assimilate all of the small tasks into one large accomplishment. But first, the small tasks must be defined and broken down into their small task-like selves and information chunked into their own independent discrete boxes. Of course, in the tech industry agile development refers to a more complicated planning procedure which I will not elaborate on in this post. Nonetheless, as a human on a mission, this view is very intuitive to what it takes to get anything done in life.
I implore you to implement what all the great tech companies are doing and break down your walls into nugget like activities and start living a life of minimalism and user and task analysis implementation.

Sianara for now.

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