Most studies include a series of study tasks that happen all at about the same time. We want to create an experience, so participants complete this series of tasks without getting sidetracked.
We have two techniques to create this uninterrupted linear experience.
The recruitment and join process, added automatically to all studies, uses both of these techniques:
Task triggered by the previous completion. First, as you click the diamonds next to each task, you’ll notice that for the most part, they are connected to the task immediately before and immediately after without any delay periods. Obviously, this means the tasks “study recruitment page”, “eligibility”, “informed consent”, and “arm assignment”, trigger immediately one after the other prior to the participant (though the decision rules are invisible). You can automatically create tasks triggered before and after by using the quick add feature. Simply scroll your mouse under an existing task, and a menu appears. Click on the task type you’d like to add.
Grouping. Second, the tasks are grouped in a box. You take your mouse and draw a box around those study tasks.
The combination of these two things creates an uninterrupted linear flow to the participant: One task after another without delivering the participant back to a task list.
Without it, the first task visible to the participant (the Informed consent) isn’t presented immediately. A participant is directed to their task list and must click on the task to begin.
It’s a small nuance but can make a big difference in user experience.
Think of it a little like the feature in some e-mail systems. It’s a good analogy as the participant task list “Your Study Tasks” is a lot like an inbox for new study tasks.
Most of us read one e-mail, process it, and go back to our inbox. In the inbox, we can get sidetracked and skip around. If we have our e-mail system set to immediately show us the next unread e-mail after processing the last, we’re less likely to get sidetracked, and we review the next e-mail until we’re done.
In a research protocol, we don’t want people to get sidetracked. And while there are situations we might want to give people choices, in most cases we don’t want them to skip around among tasks assigned at about the same time. We want to create as much consistency as possible.
This concept is so important that we not only add the grouping concept around the recruitment and join tasks by default, but we also provide an interrupted flow to the first task in an arm. Unless there is a delay period when setting rules, the first task in any arm is presented to a participant without going back to the participant’s task list. Even if you don’t add a rule for task 1, the task intro page for task 1 will present immediately after accepting informed consent (remembering arm assignment is invisible to participants).
Now, in the current design, I have also included task 2. I haven’t created a rule in task 2. So by default, the system is going to trigger both tasks immediately after arm assignment. The user will complete task one, and then go to their task list to click on task 2.
There are reasons to do this, particularly when there are a bunch of tasks issued at once, and you actually want people to choose only one of them.
But if you want to create a seamless experience, you can make two quick changes, to create this experience for participants:
1. Create a rule for task two that causes it to trigger at the completion of task 1
2. Group task 1 and task 2