The User Experience

Too often, our industry releases products with seemingly little regard for the user experience. We get caught up trying to make something look cool and forget that we aren’t the end users. We need to understand that the user experience is paramount.

The PTZ camera
PTZ cameras as a conference room solution are horrible for the most part. First, they are all HUGE. There is no doubt that there is a camera in the room. Second, if the camera moves to point at you when you’re talking it’s an automatic spotlight. You can’t help but to get distracted. Third, it’s near impossible to get any sort of acceptable eye contact, especially when zooming around ruining all continuity in your meeting.
PTZ cameras placed on top of a display in a huddle room solution are absolutely inappropriate. The camera is much too high to capture anything but the top of people’s heads.

Products with Integrated Displays
Displays are cheap and their technology isn’t driven by commercial use anymore, it’s driven by the consumer market. Reselling televisions doesn’t make sense anymore because the margins are too low and displays have become a throwaway product. Plus, if you create a fancy housing around any one particular model, you get stuck when that model is no longer available. Let the customer decide what display is most appropriate for them and work around that. Anyone remember when televisions has integrated VHS players? One part breaks, the whole thing breaks.

Equipment Located in Weird Places
We’ve all seen them, displays too high, too low, on side walls, even behind you; Cameras stuck randomly in the room with zero regard for eye contact; microphones placed so they pick up paper shuffling better than your voice and the list goes on. Video conferencing should be about having a meeting, that’s it. I know I say that often, but apparently it needs repeated constantly. The goal should be that people forget they are on video and just have a meeting. You can’t do that when you’re looking at the side of someone’s face when they are speaking directly to you.

Webcam Use for More Than One Person
Some of us out there are trying to sell a dressed up webcam as a conference room solution. Webcam quality starts to go downhill quick if you’re trying to capture more than one person. Selling it as a viable group solution doesn’t help any of us. We all know the experience is horrible and if this gets sold to the customer as a great solution, we all know the result – no usage and another company out there acknowledges that they wasted money on video conferencing.

Let’s focus on the user’s experience and how we can make it better. Better experience = higher utilization.

This was originally posted to in late 2014 

Follow me on Twitter @bryanhellard

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