Computer Science Essays - Task Analysis

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TASK Analysis for AZ electronic Application

In Human Computer Interaction a task analysis involvesunderstanding what it is that the user does or has been doing. This provides aninsight into the steps required by a system to function and allow it to be compatiblewith the user's accustomed behaviours i.e. the steps learned through the taskanalysis. System design must consider the human being as a component of thesystem to ensure acceptance of the system and a task analysis allows for moreeffective integration of the human element into the system design and operation.The entire system must be thought of as being comprised of the followingcomponents human operator, equipment (hardware and software), and environment.

For the eAZ application and for the purposes of this exercisethe task analysis is limited to being procedural in nature. That is, the identifiedend goal or goals can be broken down into a series of sub goals and tasks thatcan be carried out in a sequence to reach the required goal(s). A proceduraltask analysis breaks down the mental and/or physical steps that a person mustgo through so that the task can be successfully achieved. The steps that makeup a task are arranged linearly and sequentially one after the other. Thisapplies well to an AZ lookup.

The AZ serves many purposes and is used in a number ways.The table below contains the main uses that have been identified but is by nomeans exhaustive. For the purposes of this exercise each use is thought of as akey goal. Each of the key goals is broken down into a series of sub goals andsteps required to achieve the key goal.

Key Goals- Main Identified Uses of an AZ map


Key Goal


Sub Goals sub Tasks


Road Names

Find a road name or motorway. The AZ map features motorways, A and B roads, postcode districts, borough boundaries. The index section of an AZ lists streets, selected flats, walkways and named junctions

a. Lookup Road Name in the AZ Index

b. Locate Correct Road name using area or postcode

c. Note Page Number and Grid Mapping next to the road name

d. Turn to correct page

e. Locate Grid i.e. 5A

f. Locate Road within Grid


Rail/Tube Stations

Lookup a London Underground Station or Railway station or lookup which line to take.

The index section of an AZ lists National Rail stations, Croydon Tram link stops, Docklands Light Railway stations and London Underground stations. Additional features include the London Underground map, the London Rail Connections map

For Underground Travel

a. Turn to the back cover of the AZ

b. Locate the destination station.

c. Note the colour of the line

d. Look at the key to find out which train line to take i.e. central, circle etc

e. Decide route to destination based on start location

To locate an underground or railway station

a. Lookup station name in the AZ Index

b. Note the Page Number and Grid Mapping next to the station name

c. Turn to correct page

e. Locate Grid i.e. 5A

f. Locate station within Grid


Landmarks and key places

Find Landmarks i.e. tourist sites, Schools, hospitals, Libraries, built-up areas, green areas and water features etc. The index section of an AZ list places of interest, place and area names. There is a separate list of hospitals and hospices with their address and telephone number

a. Lookup the Landmark name in the AZ Index

b. Locate Correct Landmark using area or postcode

c. Note Page Number and Grid Mapping next to the Landmark name

d. Turn to correct page

e. Locate Grid i.e. 5A

f. Locate Landmark within Grid


Congestion Charge

Lookup Congestion Charging Zones in London to avoid charges

a. Turn to the inside back cover of the AZ

b. Look at the congestion charging zone drawn

c. Decide if a charge will be made based on the destination journey.


Route Planning

Plan a route and estimate the distance or time to get the destination

a. Follow Goal 1 above to locate destination

b. Follow Goal 1 above to find current location

c Work out best route between start and destination

d. Estimate time to destination based on knowledge and experience


Area/Postcode Lookup

Find an Area of London. i.e. a high level area/postcode map enables the user to get an idea of where in London a certain area or postcode would be.

a. Lookup postcode

b. Identify area on high level map based on postcode.



Central London Cinema and Theatre lookup

a. Lookup the Cinema name in the AZ Index

b. Lookup Page Number and Grid Mapping next to the cinema name

c. Turn to correct page

e. Locate Grid i.e. 5A

f. Locate cinema within Grid

Key Goal No1 - Find Road Name

This Key goal is discussed in a little more detail below. Fromthe table it can be seen that there a number of key steps that need to beperformed in order to achieve the final goal. However there are also a numberof key pieces of information and actions that are required to reach the goal.

The user/person needs to know the road name and also knowthe postcode or have an idea which area the road is in i.e. north, south, eastor west London. This will allow them to look up the name in the index. In thecase of similar roads being in the same area the user has to choose or decidewhich is the correct road. The user also has to make a mental note of the gridmapping next to the road name and then apply this knowledge to locate it on thecorrect page.

The user must also perform some physical actions, thesebeing to turn to the correct page in the index to obtain the correct page/gridreference for the road name. The user must then turn to the correct page,identify the correct grid and then look within the grid to locate the roadlocation.

The eAZ

The eAZ should offer the following input modes in the statedsequence

1. A drop down list or an icon for each type oflookup required i.e. road name, hospital, Place of Interest, tube location. Theuser than just selects the required option and this tells the eAZ to limit itssearch.

2. An input screen or field based on selection 1above. If a road name search was chosen a road name or postcode should be allowedto be entered. If a Landmark search was chosen than the Landmark name must beentered together with the postcode etc. If there are a number of matches found thenthe eAZ should display a list from which the user can choose the correctchoice.

3. The eAZ should display a map diagram pinpointingthe correct location. This is very beneficial to the user as they do not nowhave to remember the page number and grid location and then physically find theroad. It's all done for them.

4. If planning a route, an input for the startlocation is required. (If GPRS functionality is to be included then this willnot be required as the start location will be known by the device)

Additional Enhancements possible due to IT

Once the road or place of interest has been identified it ispossible to work out an optimal route or how long a journey will take. In themanual system this will be purely based on estimation and gut feel. The functionalityof the eAZ could use a more mathematical approach and also allow the user toset certain parameters for example if travelling by car set the car speed basedon the time of day. It cold also show a number of different routes based on theparameters chosen


Procedural Task Analysis,

Dan Diaper, Neville A. Stanton, (September 29, 2003) , The Handbook of Task Analysis for Human-Computer Interaction , Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc