Top Tasks: Design for Your Users

Being able to design a website that users love is not too far away from being able to read their minds. Understanding our users top tasks is a tool we are using to try and understand what users need and want from us.

A website’s top tasks include 5-10 tasks that the majority of the website’s users want or need to do on the site. These tasks are the main reason people come to the site and are therefore extremely important to the users, and what is important to the users is important to us. If users can’t complete these tasks quickly and easily they will get frustrated with the site, or even worse they might leave!

As part of the project to redevelop our website we have been utilising the Top Tasks approach which we have been working on for the last six weeks. Our goal was to understand the top five tasks that external users are trying to perform on our website and this information will then be used to inform the next stage of the project - a prototype website concept called an ‘Alpha’.

From our initial research, we began the Top Tasks process with a list of over 800 tasks. These tasks came from a variety of sources – interviews, survey responses, similar organisations’ websites, as well as our own existing website structure and search analytics. The goal of our Top Tasks team was to condense this vast list to less than 100 tasks. Six weeks ago, this was quite daunting!

With the support and knowledge of key internal stakeholders we held weekly workshops to work through each individual task to understand its true purpose. For example, what were people trying to achieve when they selected “official report”? Were they looking for what an MSP said? Were they trying to track a topic they were interested in? Were they following up on the evidence they provided during a committee meeting? Or is it all of the above?

Now having completed this process, we have a final list of around 30 tasks. A feat we are all very impressed with! These tasks now form the basis of our Top Tasks Survey that will allow us to further understand and examine what our external users are trying to do on the current website, and help to shape the future one.

The survey is live on the website until Thursday 15th February … and we are eagerly awaiting the results. The survey is open to all - please give your views!