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Workflow Analysis

It's important to understand the big picture before you start your system design.

Workflow analysis (also known as Task and User Analysis) is the process of learning about users by observing them in action. It is different from asking them questions in focus groups, where they are away from their typical work environment.

What a workflow analysis attempts to capture is an understanding of the user's workflow based on actual tasks. This would include not only what they do online, but more importantly, what manual tasks affect their daily work.

Case study

While observing a user entering details into an ordering system, we noted that the user referred to a manual to look up the product code for the product they wished to order. This was because the system did not allow the user to type in a description, which proved to be time consuming and error prone.

To make the application more usable, we recommended that the product codes be provided on screen in a look-up table, or for the order form to be enhanced to accommodate both the product code and/or the description.

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