The latest version of Skype allows you to share all or part of your screen with another Skype user in a couple of clicks.
This can be incredibly useful. So far I have used it for:
- support – Sometimes email just doesn’t cut it. If your customer has Skype, you can use screen sharing to see exactly what your customer is doing while talking to them.
- remote usability testing – Usability testing is very important. But luring a stream of fresh victims to your office to take part is a logistical headache. If you use Skype screen sharing neither of you has to leave the comfort of your own computer. I have used it successully to do usability testing with people on the other side of the world.
Skype screen sharing has its limitation. The images are bit blurry, there is some latency and you can’t interact with the remote computer (as you can with services such as Copilot). But it is good enough for most purposes, and it’s free!
If you are going to be using Skype much, then I strongly recommend buying a USB headset. It is much more comfortable than holding a phone to your ear for extended periods and it keeps your hands free for typing. I use a Logitech headset and I have been quite happy with it. I sometimes get sweaty ears during a long call, but it seems a small price to pay.
Logitech ClearChat Pro USB on amazon.com (affiliate link)
Well, I’ve been using it with some guys from the US (Ohio)(I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina) and so far, it works pretty well!.
One use case you forgot to mention is when you are outsourcing some work, and want to show some bug you found in the code, or some unexpected behavior in some screen.
One small screen-sharing call is worth one million words and/or a thousand screenshots :-)
Nicolas Miyasato (miya)
As far as remote usability testing goes, the disadvantage to using Skype is that your participant needs to have Skype installed, and for long-distance calls, they’ll need to buy Skype credits. I work for a remote UX research firm (Bolt | Peters) and we use browser-based solutions like Adobe Connect, GoToMeeting, and LiveLook because they don’t require the user to install anything. That allows us to recruit people online, call them right away, and begin a session, a process we call “live recruiting.”
If you’re interested in reading more about that, we have a book on remote user research coming out soon: http://www.rosenfeldmedia.com/books/remote-research/
Skype is fairly ubiquitous now and there is no charge if you both have Skype installed (regardless of location).
If you need to be able to control the remote computer CrossLoop is nice (and free).
From a marketing POV I think its interesting to look at what these guys are trying to do to stand out in a very crowded marketplace. Personally I don’t think it works that well though as it hides what its all about rather than the lazer focused copilot. Interesting to see that they are thinking about it anyway.
Useful info, Andy; thanks.
Very useful tip :) thanks for the share.. :)
I have changed my mind about Logitech headsets. The first one lasted a year or two before it died. The replacement I purchased died in less than 4 months. So I suggest you look for something more reliable.