Task analysis: Jintao Liu

Introduction:

This analysis evaluates some of the fundamental tasks performed by users using a system to prepare and send a fax. The expected fax has the following characteristics:

  • It may contain a cover sheet (professional, contemporary, or elegant).
  • It should contain a Recipient (including the name of the person or company, fax number)
  • It may contain a Sender's information (including the name, company, mailing address, phone, and fax)
  • It may contain the format (page number).
  • It may choice the documentation source.
  • It may send to more than one receiver.
  • It may feedback the error message or success message.
  • It can select fax software (Microsoft fax or a different fax program, which is installed on system).
  • Suppose we are now trying to develop a specific system (in here used Fax Wizard in Windows NT as an example) which can fulfill the above functions. Then these questions should be first answered:

  • What are the main tasks will be included in this system?
  • What these tasks are deployed and how do they work in the system?
  • Who will use these tasks and the frequency of using?
  • Which task(s) will be used most frequently?
  •  

    The format of the report is as following:

     

    List of Task User being considered

    Normal User

    Business User

    Expert User

     

    List of all the tasks being considered

     

    List of the objects being considered

     

    Task/User table

    Task Normal User Business User Expert User
    Send a single fax Sometime Never Never
    Send a standard fax Rarely Often Rarely
    Send a special fax Never Rarely Often
    Create a template Never Often Rarely
    Create a cover sheet Never Often Often
    Select document Often Often Often
    Select fax software Never Sometime Sometime
    Create Recipient Often Often Often
    Create from message Sometime Often Often
    Insert page number Rarely Often Sometime
    Previewing a fax Sometime Often Often
    Saving a fax Never Often Sometime
    Print fax out Sometime Often Sometime
    Send fax out Often Often Often

     

    Task/object table

    Task Single fax Standard fax Special fax
    Create a template .00/.00 .05/.05 .00/.00
    Create a cover sheet .05/.05 .10/.15 .10/.30
    Select document .20/.10 .15/.05 .20/.30
    Select fax software .05/.20 .05/.05 .10/.15
    Create Recipient .20/.15 .15/.10 .20/.03
    Create from message .05/.10 .10/.05 .10/.02
    Insert page number .03/.08 .05/.05 .01/.02
    Previewing a fax .10/.15 .10/.30 .06/.08
    Saving a fax .02/.05 .08/.10 .02/.01
    Print fax out .05/.10 .02/.05 .01/.04
    Send fax out .25/.02 .15/.05 .20/.05

     

    Task Descriptions

    Task: Send a single fax

    Description:

    Send a prepared single fax. What the user need is just give out the information about the receiver's fax number, maybe also the name, and select the document want to send out. All the other steps can skip then go to the "send" step. It's just so simple.

    Preconditions:

    The document want to send already exists with the correct format. The receiver's information must be known.

    Goal:

    Send a single (simple) fax.

    Breakdown:

    System doesn't provide the step go directly to reach this task. User must follow all the steps reach the send step. It will waste a little time and make some confuse to the user unfamiliar with the system.

    Postcondition:

    A fax sends out.

    Agents:

    Someone who just send a single fax.

    Objects:

    System used to send a fax. Document in fax.

    Steps:

    Select "send to" from file menu go to Fax Wizard system. Following the step select the document want to send out and fill in the information in recipient step, skip the other steps don't need in this task. Send fax and get the feedback that display if the fax send out success or not.

    Critical Features:

    System used to create a single fax must function correctly, tools to create the single fax must operate correctly.
     

    Task: Send a standard business fax

    Description:

    Send a prepared standard fax for official or commercial use. What the user need may follow the template had exist in the system or create a new one. Following the step to create a complete fax. User can save this fax for keeping in the archives, also can print out for fax again in fax machine.

    Preconditions:

    The document want to send already exists with the correct format. The receiver's and the sender's information must be known. Which kind of cover sheet must select or pre-create. The standard (or style) must be known.

    Goal:

    Send a standard (official) fax.

    Breakdown:

    System provide the limited selection for the style.

    Postcondition:

    A fax sends out. A file saving this fax will be existing in this system. A paper may print out.

    Agents:

    Someone who creates and sends standard fax.

    Objects:

    System used to send a fax. Document in fax. System used to create coversheet.

    Steps:

    Select "send to" from file menu go to Fax Wizard system. Following the step select the document want to send out. Select or create recipient. Select a cover sheet style and select an existing cover sheet or create a now one. Select sender's information. Select save or not. Select print out or not. Select if sends to more than one receiver, if yes, give additional information about receiver. Sends fax and get the feedback that displays if the fax send out success or not.

    Critical Features:

    System used to create a standard fax must function correctly, tools to create the standard fax must operate correctly.
     

    Task: Send a special fax

    Description:

    Send a special fax for some purpose. What the user need may add the special requirement in each step. User can save this fax for keeping in the archives, also can print out for fax again in fax machine.

    Preconditions:

    The document want to send already exists with the correct format. The receiver's must be known. Special requirement must be known.

    Goal:

    Send a special fax.

    Breakdown:

    System provides the limited for special requirement. Some format may not be work well in the system.

    Postcondition:

    A special fax sends out. A file saving this fax may be existing in this system. A paper may print out.

    Agents:

    Someone who creates and sends special fax.

    Objects:

    System used to send a fax. Document in fax. System used to create special requirement.

    Steps:

    Select "send to" from file menu go to Fax Wizard system. Following the step select the document want to send out. Select or create recipient. Select a cover sheet style and select an existing cover sheet or create a now one. Select sender's information. Select save or not. Select print out or not. Select change format or not. Sends fax and get the feedback that displays if the fax send out success or not.

    Critical Features:

    System used to create a special fax must function correctly, tools to create the special requirement must operate correctly.
     

    Task: Create a cover sheet

    Description:

    Create a meaningful cover sheet as the first page from it the fax begins. That is including some message the sender wants the receiver knows first. The sender also can including "from" message in this cover.

    Preconditions:

    Application software used to create a cover sheet should be available.

    Goals of the task:

    Used to increase the fancy, beauty, or standard.

    Breakdowns:

    The style of the cover sheet may limit. And some special format cover will not work well in this system.

    Post conditions:

    Subject will create a cover sheet for the fax.

    Agents:

    Subject who is taking care of making (or sending fax) from this system.

    Objects:

    Cover sheet will send following the fax document. System being used to create the cover sheet, tools being used to create the cover sheet.

    Steps in doing the task:

    Start the system go to the cover sheet editor. If already have the cover sheet can be used, just open existing one. If no existing one can be used, select the cover sheet sample, create a new one and save it.

    Critical features:

    System used to create cover sheet must function correctly, tools to create the cover sheet must operate correctly. Cover sheet should be put on the first sequence of the fax.

     

    Task: Select document wants to send

    Description:

    Select the document from anywhere from the system. This part is the main part of the fax.

    Preconditions:

    Document had been exist.

    Goals of the task:

    Provide the content to fax

    Breakdowns:

    Imported document is in a wrong format that can not be recognized by system.

    Post conditions:

    A document can be send in the format system can recognize.

    Agents:

    Subject who is taking care of making (or sending fax) from this system.

    Objects:

    Document can be opened, system support the document format.

    Steps in doing the task:

    Start the system go to the select document window. From the file director select the correct file including the document being fax. Make sure the document in correct format.

    Critical features:

    System used to select the document must function correctly. Document must be in the format fax system can recognize.
     

    Task: Select fax software

    Description:

    Select default or Microsoft Fax or other fax software system support, that can provide send a fax from system to anywhere.

    Preconditions:

    Software must be installed first.

    Goals of the task:

    Select the software supports the fax.

    Breakdowns:

    Not all the fax software can be support by the current system.

    Post conditions:

    Fax can be send through this software.

    Agents:

    Subject who is taking care of making (or sending fax) from this system.

    Objects:

    Software being used to send the fax.

    Steps in doing the task:

    Start the system used to support send fax, use tools send the fax, after send the fax, switch off the system.

    Critical features:

    System used to provide fax must function correctly, tools to support a fax must operate correctly.

     

    Task: Create Recipients

    Description:

    The most important part of a fax is who is the receiver. Some necessary information about the receiver (name, fax) will be given out in here. Some additional information about the receiver (company, address, phone ---) may also be given out in here.

    Preconditions:

    Must know the information of the receiver.

    Goals of the task:

    Give out the where fax will send to.

    Breakdowns:

    If this information is wrong, the system has no way to cancel "send" task after the user had pressed the send button. This information just can be checked by the user self.

    Post conditions:

    The fax has a recipient information.

    Agents:

    Subject who is taking care of making (or sending fax) from this system.

    Objects:

    System used to create a recipient. A recipient includes necessary information.

    Steps in doing the task:

    Start system select create a recipient. Check to see if the current receiver's information has existed in system, if yes, just select it. If not, insert the information of the receiver, save information. Close the system.

    Critical features:

    System used to create recipient must function correctly, recipient should be retrieval. The position of the recipient should be changeable.

     

    Task: Create from message

    Description:

    The necessary part of a fax is who is the sender. Some necessary information about the sender (name, fax) will be given out in here. Some additional information about the sender (company, address, phone ---) may also be given out in here.

    Preconditions:

    Must know the information of the sender.

    Goals of the task:

    Give out where the fax comes from.

    Breakdowns:

    System has no way to help the user to check this information correct or not.

    Post conditions:

    The fax has a sender information.

    Agents:

    Subject who is taking care of making (or sending fax) from this system.

    Objects:

    System used to create a "from" message. The message includes necessary information.

    Steps in doing the task:

    Start system select "who is the fax from". Check to see if the current sender's information has been as default in system, if yes, just select ok. If not, insert the information of the sender, save information. Close the system.

    Critical features:

    System used to create "from" message must function correctly, from message should be retrieval. The position of the "from" message should be changeable.

     

    Task: Insert page number

    Description:

    Sometime the fax document will much long. Mark the total page number and the sequential number in each page will be wise for the receiver to collect.

    Preconditions:

    System has this function

    Goals of the task:

    Give out the number of each page

    Breakdowns:

    If only have one sheet, this task will lose the meaning.

    Post conditions:

    Fax will mark by page number.

    Agents:

    Subject who is taking care of making (or sending fax) from this system.

    Objects:

    System used to add page number. Page number will be added in the fax.

    Steps in doing the task:

    Start the system go to window "if add page number", choice yes, then click next button.

    Critical features:

    System used to add page number must function correctly, page number should be sequential. The position of the page number should be changeable.

     

    Task: Previewing a fax

    Description:

    Preview the fax through a virtual page. It will be looks like the same as what a receiver look.

    Preconditions:

    All the design for the fax had been done and saved as the requirement format.

    Goals of the task:

    Check to see if the fax will be as same as you want.

    Breakdowns:

    Because the system used in the receiver side is an undefined, so the effect may not as the same as view in sender's system. This may misleading the sender's feeling.

    Post conditions:

    A satisfied fax exist.

    Agents:

    Subject who is taking care of making (or sending fax) from this system.

    Objects:

    System used to view a fax. The fax already exists.

    Steps in doing the task:

    Start system, go through all the other step of create a fax, follow the direction next to preview window, select the format of preview. If the appearance is satisfied, then click send or save, then close system. If not satisfy, then go to modify.

    Critical features:

    System used to view a virtual fax must function correctly. Fax should be modifiable.

     

    Task: Saving a fax with the format

    Description:

    Sometime the sending fax may be need. A copy of the fax can save in the time it sends out will be better.

    Preconditions:

    System has this function. The fax has existed.

    Goals of the task:

    Make a save to the send out fax. For consult or remain.

    Breakdowns:

    The file can't be saved in the system without the software support the same format.

    Post conditions:

    A copy of the sending fax saved in the system.

    Agents:

    Subject who is taking care of making (or sending fax) from this system.

    Objects:

    System used to save the fax. The fax will be saved.

    Steps in doing the task:

    In the step save the file to disk, select the directory to save file, then go to next step.

    Critical features:

    The system used to save fax must support the format of this fax.

     

    Task: print fax out

    Description:

    Sometime user may need to print the fax out and send it with Fax Machine. Or used for safety save.

    Preconditions:

    All the design for the fax had been done and the printer is work.

    Goals of the task:

    Print out the fax.

    Breakdowns:

    Printer is not available, printer available does not support the format of the fax. Fax has been printed but the lab assistant to hand in the print out not avaible.

    Post conditions:

    A print out copy of fax, in the format expected.

    Agents:

    Subject who is taking care of making (or sending fax) from this system.

    Objects:

    Fax being print out, Printer, system used to view the fax.

    Steps in doing the task:

    Start system, go to print step, select print out, issue a print statement, close the system.

    Critical features:

    Printer available supports the format of the fax.

     

    Task: send fax out

    Description:

    The last step and the most important in doing a send fax step.

    Preconditions:

    All the design for the fax had been done.

    Goals of the task:

    Send out the fax.

    Breakdowns:

    When the send command had perform, system had no way to stop it if the sender change the mind.

    Post conditions:

    A fax send out.

    Agents:

    Subject who is taking care of making (or sending fax) from this system.

    Objects:

    Fax being send out, system used to send the fax.

    Steps in doing the task:

    Go to send step, select send not, get the feedback message then close the system.

    Critical features:

    The receiver's system must available supports the format of the fax and available to receive.

     

    Pseudo-code description of the make up of the higher level tasks

    Task send a single fax {

    while (still fax are to be build){

    subtask create fax{

    while (create or select document)

    subtask select document;

    while (create recipient)

    subtask create recipient;

    while (create from message)

    subtask create from message;

    if (previewing a fax)

    subtask previewing;

    if (print fax out)

    subtask print fax out;

    while (send fax)

    subtask send fax out;

    }

    }

    Task send a standard business fax{

    while (still fax are to be build){

    subtask create fax{

    while (create or select document)

    subtask select document;

    while (create recipient)

    subtask create recipient;

    while (create from message)

    subtask create from message;

    if (create a cover sheet)

    subtask create cover sheet;

    if (create template)

    subtask template;

    if (select fax software);

    subtask select fax software;

    if (insert page number)

    subtask insert page number;

    if (save fax to disk)

    subtask saving a fax with the format;

    if (previewing a fax)

    subtask previewing;

    if (print fax out)

    subtask print fax out;

    while (send fax)

    subtask send fax out;

    }

    }

    Task send a special fax{

    while (still fax are to be build){

    subtask create fax{

    while (create or select document)

    subtask select document;

    while (create recipient)

    subtask create recipient;

    while (create from message)

    subtask create from message;

    if (create a cover sheet)

    subtask create cover sheet;

    if (create template)

    subtask template;

    if (select fax software);

    subtask select fax software;

    if (insert page number)

    subtask insert page number;

    if (save fax to disk)

    subtask saving a fax with the format;

    if (previewing a fax)

    subtask previewing;

    if (print fax out)

    subtask print fax out;

    while (add some special requirement)

    subtask insert special requirement;

    while (send fax)

    subtask send fax out;

    }

    }

    Task create a template for the business fax{

    if (template already exist)

    subtask select template;

    else

    subtask use tools to create template;

    }

    Task create a cover sheet{

    if (cover sheet already exist)

    subtask select cover sheet;

    else

    subtask use tools to create cover sheet;

    }

    Task select document wants to send{

    subtask select the directory and select the correct cocument;

    }

    Task select fax software{

    if (use the default software)

    subtask go to next step;

    else

    subtask select fax software;

    }

    Task create Recipient{

    if (recipient already exist)

    subtask select recipient from recipient list;

    else

    subtask use tools to add a new recipient;

    }

    Task create from message{

    if (use default from message)

    subtask select default;

    else

    subtask use tools to create a new from message;

    }

    Task insert page number{

    subtask insert page number;

    }

    Task previewing a fax{

    subtask select preview;

    }

    Task saving a fax with the format{

    subtask select save;

    }

    Task print fax out

    if (use default printer)

    subtask print;

    else

    subtask set printer;

    }

    Task send fax out{

    subtask send fax out;

    }

     

    Last changed: 10 June,1998

     

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