User and Task Analysis
User and Task Analysis Report
The following is a hypothetical report written for The Technical Communicator 1 at Seneca College for the Technical Communication Graduate Certificate.
The focus of this report is to explore how Skype may expand its user base among +65 retirees. By establishing a pilot program in a senior’s retirement community, Skype wishes to discover which feature the participants are most interested in, and how to use that feature. The participants have basic technology skills and the program will address their needs and interests. Our goal is to have the participants set up and confidently using Skype with their family and friends.
User Needs Analysis
Laguna Woods Village is a retirement community in Orange County, California, approximately 50 miles south of Los Angeles. It is a large community of 18,500 people and offers many recreational, service and social activities. There are two golf clubs, five pools, equestrian centre, tennis and lawn bowl facilities, and art and computer labs.
The community attracts residents who wish to lead an active and well-connected life, with ample opportunity to learn new skills. The socio-economic group is middle to upper-middle class and has diverse cultural backgrounds. The residents are beginner-to-advanced technology users. Many have cell phones and/or tablets/computers in their condos.
By speaking to a group of 20 residents we discovered that the majority owned cell phones, many owned tablets, and only two owned laptops or desktop computers. The community has two computer labs for residents use; a Windows operating system lab, and a Macintosh operating system lab. Many in our focus group like to use the computer labs for word processing or taking one of the classes offered but preferred the privacy that their cell phone or tablet provided for communicating with family or friends.
Information Required to Determine User Needs
- Users cell operating system; Android or Apple.
- Users data plans.
- Laguna Woods’ Wi-Fi connection speed and range.
The result of our analysis shows that the seniors would prefer to use their cell phones for Skype. The focus should be on educating seniors on how to download apps onto their phones and to get started on Skype. Most seniors understood the basic premise of making a video call and were keen to know the details.
Our target participants were cell phone owners who do not use the Skype app on their phone, or on their home tablet/computer, and have never opened a Skype account.
Residents at Laguna Woods Village possess technical skills ranging from absolute beginner to advanced users. Louise Chan, Thanh Nguyen, and Vera Hernández are residents who are beginner to intermediate technology users, and all use cell phones for making calls and sending Short Message Services (SMS). No participant had used Multimedia Message Service (MMS) on their phones, used a browser to access the internet, and regularly used email apps. They rarely, if ever, use other apps.
Louise is 70-years-old and has lived in the senior’s community for five years. She was born in Taiwan and moved to the Greater Los Angeles area in the 1980s with her husband. For 30 years, Louise and her husband owned and operated a successful restaurant in the Monterey Park neighbourhood of Los Angeles.
After the death of her husband in 2013, Louise sold the restaurant and moved into the senior’s living community in Laguna Woods. She has two adult children and three grandchildren who all live in Monterey Park, about an hour and a half away, when the traffic is good.
When Louise retired, remaining active and social was her number one priority. She loves living in Laguna Woods and loves that she is still close to her family, but the reality is, with her kids’ and grand kids’ busy lives, she doesn’t see them as much as she would like.
Louise can send an email, and her daughter has shown her how to use the internet to read online newspapers in Taiwan. She also Facetimes with her son and grand kids, but her 12-year-old granddaughter has just received her first cell phone, which is an android phone and not an Apple product like Louise’s. She is looking for a similar product as Facetime that is hardware agnostic, so she can continue to video call with her granddaughter. She has never used Skype before and is interested to learn if she can make the connection she seeks.
Thanh was born in Vietnam and arrived in Orange County in 1978 along with thousands of his fellow country-people. He worked in construction his whole life and built a nice life for himself by renovating houses; “flipping” before “flipping” was a widespread phenomenon. He and his wife moved into Laguna Woods Senior Village 20 years ago when he was 63. Unfortunately, his wife passed away 10 years ago. After college his daughter moved to Chicago for her career and she ended up staying and raising her family there. He stays in touch by phone and he visits once a year and they visit him once a year. He has unlimited country-wide phone calls with his cell agreement and doesn’t see the need for video calls. It is his 25-year-old grandson who would like to set him up with Skype. His grandson has just bought a house in Chicago to renovate and would like to tap into his grandfather’s expertise and thinks being able to see issues as they arise will make the process easier.
Thanh is very active in the village but is quietly relishing the thought of being able to help his grandson with construction advise, and if he can do that while on the back nine with his cell phone, it won’t intrude on his activities too much. His hearing isn’t what it used to be, so he does have concerns about hearing the audio in a video call.
Vera is 70 and has lived in Orange County her entire life. She lives at the Village with her husband. Her two sons live within a 20-minute drive and she sometimes stays with them to help their families. She uses texting and phone calls with them and doesn’t have a great need for Skype to stay in touch.
Vera’s best friend at Laguna Woods Senior’s Village recently moved to North Carolina to live near her daughter in an assisted living facility, as her health had deteriorated. Vera misses her and would welcome the chance to video chat and see her new home, and to keep her connected to mutual friends at the Village.
Vera is okay with making calls and texts on her cell but has never had an opportunity to use video calling. She would like to learn how to use it and then set up her friend with it too.
Downloading the Skype app
- In the Play Store (Android phone) or Apple Store (Apple phone), use the search bar to locate the Skype app. Simply typing “Skype” will bring the app up as your first choice. Tap on the Skype icon to continue to the product page.
- If you wish you may read about the app, reviews for the app, and other information about the app. This is not a necessary step but may be of interest and value to you. Otherwise, simply tap the Install icon to install the app onto your phone. This should take several seconds to a minute, depending on your internet or Wi-Fi speed.
- You may notice the progress indicator which informs you of the remaining download time. Once the app has downloaded, the Install button will change to Open. You may open the app here by tapping Open, or you can close the Play Store or Apple Store app and locate the Skype app on the last page of your app screens.
Creating an account
- Once you have opened the Skype app, you will need to create an account. Tap on the Create Account
- You will be prompted to enter your phone number, first and last name, and then Next.
- Skype will then send an SMS text to your phone that contains a password. Simply click on the link in the text and it will create an account and log you into Skype.
- There are many features to use on Skype. For today we are making a video call with family or friends.
Finding family and friends on Skype
- Once you have the Skype app open, tap on the Contacts Skype can search your cell phone for your contacts, such as your son, daughter, grandkids, or friends who are in your cell phone’s contacts.
- Check the people who you would like to connect with and then tap Add to Contacts.
Making a video call
- In your Skype Contact List, find the person you wish to call.
- You will be presented with several icons. Video calls are made using the camera icon.
- When dialing, a video call will sound much like a phone call. Remember to hold your cell phone up so your camera is capturing your face for your recipient to see. Skype makes this easy for you to judge by providing a small image of yourself in the bottom corner, layered over the video of your contact.
- When it comes time to end your video call, simply tap on the red hang-up icon.
Answering a video call
- Your phone will make a distinct Skype call sound, and a Skype alert will show on your screen indicating which contact is calling.
- Answer the call as a video call by tapping on the camera icon.