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Step 1: Identify problem and top user tasks

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Identify the primary user task flow or funnel, establish at least one related user success metric, and prioritize the design to improve that metric.

Make the top tasks work well, and you’ll be on the right track. Get them wrong, and chances are you’ll be getting help requests or complaints.


  1. Start by writing the primary problem statement that your product or service is trying to address. Use the questions below to guide you:
    1. What is the problem?
    2. Who’s affected by this problem?
    3. Where does this problem occur?
    4. When does this problem occur?
    5. Why does this problem occur?
    6. Why does this problem need to be addressed?
  2. Summarize your problem statement in one short paragraph:

    Example: Each year, many students call our admissions line seeking an update on their application. Applicants often spend a long time waiting to speak to someone. Because contact-center staff members lack access to case information, they are unable to answer queries from applicants. This situation causes frustration for both applicants and customer-contact staff and represents an avoidable cost to the department.
  3. List the tasks users have to be able to complete on the website/application, etc. (Job Aid: Spreadsheet for documentation)

    Note: Skip steps four and five if the scope of the project is one task.
  4. Prioritize the tasks and focus on the top three most important for steps five-seven. (Mural for prioritizing if needed)
  5. Identify the users’ flow into steps necessary to complete the prioritized task(s). You may identify subtasks in the Job Aid spreadsheet, or use this Mural aid.

    Note: It’s helpful to complete tasks as a user and note your actions as you complete steps. Each action is a step including clicking on links, navigation, buttons, entering information in a form, checking a checkbox, and hitting submit or save.
  6. Compile information collected in steps one through five. Add the top tasks documentation spreadsheet into the project requirements and use for the next steps, internal testing, UAT, usability testing if applicable, and help or support documentation.

Job Aids

  1. Mural or spreadsheet to document tasks, prioritize, and document user flow
    1. User Goals and Task Analysis
    2. Idea Prioritization Mural Template
    3. Task and User Flow Mural Template
    4. Other resources for new websites/apps: 
      1. Job map vs story map — what’s the difference?
      2. Designing features using Job Stories
  2. Optional:
    1. SWS Website Discovery // Kick-Off Template
    2. SWS Content Goals Worksheet Template 
    3. SWS Content Audit Template (Events Calendar Example)