Top Tasks include a list of 10 or fewer things that users should be able to do with the design to be successful. If people can’t do them, the design will fail.
The power of Top Tasks is they focus the team on the important things, and while other tasks and features unrelated to Top Tasks can exist, they don’t have a negative effect in any way on the Top Tasks.
Top Tasks also help us maintain balance in research and they are a guide for heuristic evaluation.
To create a Top Task list, begin to interview or survey internal stakeholders. For user research, combine a few methods, like field studies, interviews, analytics analysis, and a survey that includes both open and closed-ended questions.
From that research with users and stakeholders,
- Form a hypothesis or a list of often about 100 tasks.
- Then survey users and possibly potential users and ask them to choose their top 10 from that hypothesis list.
And the most selected ones make up the Top Tasks list.
Once you have the Top Tasks list, discuss it and share it with your team, and ask them to post it in team spaces and any other key places near everyone’s workspace. Top Tasks then become a useful tool and a strong part of the vision of our users.
Top Tasks Management is a model that says: Focus on what really matters “the top tasks” and defocus on what matters less “the tiny tasks”.