Some take away points from Alan Cooper presentation at UICONF
Good design is
Goal directed Design
Goals drive a person's actions.
Tasks are things a person does in order to accomplish his goals.
Too many designers and usability professionals focus on simplifying tasks rather than accomplishing goals.
Common goals that can be assumed for a user
Don't look stupid
Get an adequate amount of work done
Don't make any big mistakes
Research the domain
Model the users
Envision the solution
Refine the behavior
While interviewing look for goals as well as tasks
look around for
understanding of general work environment
clues to tasks they haven't mentioned
evidence of inadequate systems
hints at task frequency or priority