How to write a task flow

When creating a Compatibility Test on Fable, the feedback you get can often depend on the type of instructions you give in your task flow. If the task flow you are testing is long or complex, you’ll need to break it into multiple requests. This allows for testers to focus on providing high quality feedback, rather than focusing on complex instructions.

What is a task flow?

A series of steps (“flow”) that users complete for a specific task. Task flows are similar to user flows, except they’re generally linear without multiple branches or paths. E.g., all users would follow the same steps to complete that specific action, such as creating an account or going through a checkout process. Source: UX Beginner

Below is an example of what an approved task flow looks like, as well as some tips to help you as you write your own.

Illustration of brunette woman wearing a yellow t-shirt.

Amber Knabl, Customer Success @ Fable

“Instructions should be specific enough that you know every tester will be completing the same task in the same way, but not so specific that testers have to follow overly complex instructions.”

Example task flow

Title: Explore Fable’s Learning Centre

Description: In this task you will explore Fable’s Learning Centre as a customer, providing feedback on how accessible the process to find and consume tutorial articles is.

User Journey:

  1. Review the topics under the “How to use Fable” section.
  2. Under “Go beyond accessibility compliance”, review the categories.
  3. Select the article titled “The top 5 things you should know when working with people with a disability”.
  4. Explore the main points of the article.
  5. Return to the Learning Centre homepage using the main menu.
  6. Watch the featured video embedded in the “Hear from our community” section.
  7. Interact with the video player controls, including captions and skipping to different timestamps.
  8. Return to the top of the page using the jump to top feature.

Things to note:

  • Testers will complete the task in the same way: This allows you to pinpoint exactly where issues occurred, when they are reported.
  • Each step includes only one task: All steps are clear, minimizing the chances of testers to make assumptions or attempt the task in different ways.
  • Language like “click” or “scroll” is avoided: Note the use of language like “select” or “interact” instead.
  • Specific details are provided when necessary: I specifically want the video that is embedded to be tested.
  • Testers are aware of important context: They are to be going through the flow as a customer, rather than admin, etc.

Tips for writing task flows

  • Stick to a linear path: All testers should complete the task using the same steps. This takes the guesswork out of figuring out where issues occured, when reviewing your feedback on the Fable platform.
  • Avoid visual instructions and details: For example – “click on the red paperclip to upload a file”. These type of instructions won’t work, or be helpful, for testers who are blind, low vision or colour blind.
  • Never assume how users will interact with their computers: Testers will make choices about the best way to perform actions, based on their own abilities, the hardware and software they use, and their comfort level. This may not be the same for everyone. Avoid language like “click” or “press enter”, and replace it with phrasing like “activate”.
  • Find a balance between specific and generic instructions: Instructions should be specific enough that you know every tester will be completing the same task in the same way, but not so specific that testers have to follow instructions to a degree that they aren’t able to concentrate on what the overall experience of using your website is like.
  • Provide context: Give testers some background on your website, the task they will be completing and who the primary users are.

For a helpful perspective directly from Fable’s community, you may also want to check out this article on how to write a great user journey written by Fable’s Community Manager, Sam.