Strategy to Create a Usable Multi-function Task List (ADF)

How can we encourage adoption of collaboration portals and make them an enabler of business? Generic Prebuilt task lists end up being difficult to use and customize, and usually fall into the same usability pitfalls. They view all tasks as being homogenous, and in an attempt to treat tasks in a generic manner they provide functionality to claim, fill out, and perform an action on the task. In reality, activities carry different ceremonies and weight based on the goals of the task. 

 A few common ways a user might interact with different tasks are listed below. This page will be updated with links demonstrating how to add each type of task to a multi function ADF Task List as the corresponding technical tips are added.

  1. Ceremonial Tasks – If a task holds importance, for instance, a manager giving approval, or a contractor submitting a bid to an RFP, the user interface should provide a sense of ceremony, maybe even an agreement to terms and conditions, so that the action holds importance as an act of submission or approval. This would be done by opening a complex Form for the user to allow the user to update, save, and submit data and documents for the activity.
  2. Status Tasks – When a worker in the field has completed several tasks and wants to merely update the status on them quickly so the process flow may continue. The interface should  feel more like a spreadsheet where one or two standard fields and an outcome can quickly be updated without having to search through a queue and click through several different forms. In this case, a task may not even be claimed ahead of time, and so the claim and complete and data update should happen in a single user action.
  3. Data Collection Tasks – If the assignee for a task needs to collect information and submit it to the process, a task will need to open forms where data can be submitted and validated.
  4. Informational Tasks (External System/ Auto Complete Tasks) – External tasks typically notify a user that an activity needs to be done, and provides instructions or a link to an external system where the task can be completed. These appear and disappear with no additional effort from the user, and pull in additional data based on events coming out of external system.
  5. Integrated Tasks – Rather than routing to functionality in an external system, a lot of times it makes sense to provide forms to fill out the information and automatically update the external system from the task form.
  6. Collaborative Tasks Activities where multiple contributors input data and decisions to a task. These tasks can require complex interactions. Typically, this collaboration would be supported in applications or user portals.

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