The goal of user and task analysis is to understand the potential users of a device or application and how they are likely to expect the device or application to operate. One method of user and task analysis involves observing and interviewing representative users as they interact with a current device or application in their typical environment. In cases for which field observations are not feasible, representative users may be observed and interviewed as they interact with a current device or application—or an early prototype of a new device or application—in a “lab.”
In many cases, client project team members will have extensive exposure to user actions and feedback on current devices or applications and can therefore provide information about users and tasks that can be considered in the user interface design. At a minimum, a Human Factors Engineer can take the viewpoint of representative users and step through the tasks supported by a new device or application to identify operations that are unclear or potentially confusing.