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Question

Are there studies that prove overall user performance degradation when interacting with Task-Based/Driven UIs in complex enterprise web applications and domains?

Use case

Considering, multi-step Delivery Order creation which involves

  1. setting up Customer,
  2. Consignee,
  3. multiple Consignments etc

each including multiple Items, where each consignment could be collected (Pick-Up) at different locations (vendors) by different delivery sub-contractors.

And finally where all consignments could be routed to different hubs and delivered to the Consignee by different delivery sub-contractors/own drivers. Also, probably collection from Consignee could be involved. All this is still a single Delivery Order which is considered to be closed only when all sub-routines/orders are closed.

I just described some dummy complex process which starts with the simple task from the user perspective - "Create Delivery Order" and this routine could be done like 20-30 times per every operator (user) per day. (I'm intentionally excluding things like automation).

I see, how it can be split in dozens of component frames (views/tasks)... but I have a feeling that in comparison to traditional form and grid (CRUD) heavy applications it could be much slower creation process for the advanced enterprise users. Also, I imagine that deep branching out of the main task could confuse the user a lot.

Are there any studies about the balance of Task-Based UIs and traditional UIs in complex domains?

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  • Any wireframes you made? – Swapna Apr 28 '20 at 2:16
  • @Swapna - I don't think wireframes is required there. It's not about particular UI case. It's about the cases where Task Based/Driven UI does not suit well. Asking this because i see many talks about how great Task-Based UIs are and how they help users to accomplish tasks faster and with less frustration. And mostly all speakers generalize this statement without listing the explicit usecases where it is good and bad. Probably they speak from perspective of mobile dev. IDK. – Dzintars Apr 28 '20 at 8:41
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Short answer, because every use case is different I'd suspect even if there were studies they wouldn't be relevant to a specific use case.

A couple of things to consider though:

but I have a feeling that in comparison to traditional form and grid (CRUD) heavy applications it could be much slower creation process

Feelings are great, but you'd have to test it to be sure. What's the quickest way you could do this? If you're using speed as a metric that could be one part of the equation, but consider different aspects of usability, what about number of mistakes made? how easy it is to recover from an error and understand where that error is? How about the increased complexity and the impact on UX in terms of cognitive load.

for the advanced enterprise users

What exactly do you mean here? Advanced users is a bit of misnomer. Users can become proficient in a task based on many factors, the learning of / experience with a system, effective mapping between their mental model and system model, specific training etc. Try to consider the journey that a new user must go on to become what you might consider advanced how can you make this process as efficient as possible? It's worth considering providing features that speed up a process which users may discover with experience, perhaps it's keyboard shortcuts or an advanced search which can be hidden initially.

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I think in general when we translate repetitive physical tasks into software applications, there is an extend we can use accelerator to hasten the processes by making default actions on the software applications. This is one of the 10 usability heuristics written by Nielson Norman group in the 90s. (see link)

So I guess in a sense you would be studying which part(s) of the task can be accelerated, i.e. actions which are predictable, repetitive and they are the core actions that users take in the application. And these UI accelerators will be different depending on the scenarios set out in each task.

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