I designed a dashboard layout for my company's monitoring application and had a couple of users go through a usability test session while using the application to see how usable to dashboard is.

On one of the user tasks, I wanted them to use a graph on the dashboard to complete the task. However, some of the users used a detailed graph on another page to complete the task. Would this be considered a failed task? Or would it be considered as a completed task since they were able to find the answer they're looking for?

1 Answer 1


It won't be considered a failed task, because the user has completed the task (so for all purposes, the requirement has been satisfied).

However, we often distinguish between 3 cases:

  • Ideal-path completion - meaning the user has completed the task in the shortest/intended sequences of steps.
  • Divergent-path completion - meaning the user has completed the task, but not using the ideal path.
  • No completion

This correspond to green, amber and red in the following table (from a report):

A task vs participant matrix, showing each cell coloured green, amber or red

  • Thanks for the explanation. That makes more sense now. I found it odd to fail them even if they completed the task.. just not in the most efficient way.
    – Yeezy
    Sep 21, 2015 at 23:12

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