In the above example, the task matrix describes the various methods (and their frequencies based on persona) for accomplishing the goal of booking an airline ticket. The user task matrix helps you identify the non-negotiable aspects of the user experience. For example, our above matrix shows that the most important task is “searching travel routes” since it’s used multiple times by all 3 personas. You can use this to inform design decisions by ensuring the “search route” function is part of the primary navigation instead of a discoverable item.

I know that inform means "give (someone) facts or information; tell"

  • The decision is made in light of that available information; thus, the information can be said to "inform" the decision, that is, to shape it. The decision to hire Kurosawa as VP of Marketing was shaped|informed by our need to have a representative who spoke Japanese, and who also had experience in the automotive aftermarket sector. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 17 '15 at 21:50

You are right that "inform" mainly means to give someone facts or information. Your example extends that sense of "inform" to the products or decisions of the user-interface designer who is informed of some facts.

In the example, "inform" means to make the design decisions reflect the fact that "searching travel routes" is the most important task. In other words, the design of the user interface reflects that information about how the users will operate the program. In still other words, if the the user-interface designer is informed of that fact about "searching travel routes", the user-interface design can make a better-informed decision about where to put "search route" in the screen.

The same way of extending a word's primary sense, describing something mental, to the products of a person's mind, occurs frequently in English. Here are a few examples:

  • A "smart decision" is a decision made by a smart person, or at least a person who was able to decide in the same manner as a smart person.

  • A "confused screen layout" suggests both that the elements of the screen layout are run together in a mess, and that the user-interface designer was confused when designing it.

  • An "informed choice" is a choice made by someone who has examined the available alternatives and learned good information about their pros and cons.

  • A "stupid move" in chess is a move that demonstrates little thought or insight; it appears that a stupid person made the move. Smart people sometimes make stupid moves, but you can see how the word "stupid" transfers from a person's mind to an action that results from thinking.

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Inform usually means something like to tell - but you've encountered a somewhat less common meaning which means to give form to or create a form of.

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