5.3. Writing Task Topics

Task topics answer “How do I?” questions. They use a well-defined structure that describes how to accomplish a specific goal by completing a procedure. A task topic contains a single procedure, which is made up of a series of steps. Each step describes a single action or command for the user to take. A step can also describe the step results.

One or more task topics typically follow each concept topic.

5.3.1. Structuring a Task Topic

At a minimum, a task topic includes the following components.

  • A title. The preferred phrasing is an imperative verb acting on a single noun. Examples include “Add a Course Team Member”, “Create an Email Message”, and “Place an Order”.

  • Context. This paragraph is the value proposition for the topic. It presents information about why the user would complete this task in terms of a business or personal goal, and not in terms of the software application. The preferred phrasing is, “To complete {business goal}, follow these steps.”

  • Two or more task steps, presented in an ordered list.

A task topic can also include the following additional information.

  • A brief description. This might be added between the title and the context statement.

  • Prerequisites. If a task has one or more prerequisites, such as use of a third party tool or access with an admin password, list them before step 1 of the procedure.

  • The result of the task. Providing the expected result of a procedure is helpful to users, especially when the steps are complex, there are multiple results such as status messages that occur over time, or users have several choices for what to do next.

For more information, see the {Using This Task Template}.

5.3.2. Example Task Topics

The Building and Running an edX Course guide contains these examples of task topics.