Many articles, talking points and marketing documents in our industry are revolved around the user experience. Too many times though the conversation (d)evolves into a discussion on how products need to be simplified in order for the user to have a better "experience". An easy button does not necessarily make for a good user experience, if you're taking into account the entire experience itself. Not everything can be solved by making an easier product. They can be resolved, however, with integration and support staff whose job it is to make everything seem easy to the end user and also create a better overall experience.
In video conferencing, the experience is not about how hard or how easy it was to install the software, plug in the codec or make a call. Of course as a product tester I harp on those issues, but it really has little to do with a user's overall takeaway from the video conference. Consideration must be taken beforehand by all parties involved to make the experience better, it's not just up to product vendors to make something easy for you or your IT staff.
While not "easy" my rack of stuff makes the experience better
The following is a short list on how you can make the video conferencing experience better, not just for you but for everyone:
Don't be an idiot
Yeah, it's hard sometimes, but you have to put yourself in the other participant's shoes every now and then. Think about how the other person is seeing your image on screen when you're walking through the airport, smartphone camera pointed up your nose in an area with a bad internet connect. No easy button fixes that. There are many other examples of what not to do to look like an idiot and I can't possibly cover them all here but at the very least be conscious of the image you are transmitting and the sound coming from your location.
If this article made you think or you simply think I'm wrong I welcome any and all comments. If you liked the article, I would encourage you to share it. Your involvement is greatly appreciated.
Have your room, wherever it is, set up correctly for meetings. The typical, yet often overlooked, rules apply. Good lighting, good audio, correctly set up equipment, etc. The list goes on.
Don't be the video conferencing wizard that does anything in the blog I wrote HERE.
Where is your camera and/or other necessary pieces of equipment.
Another day, another video conference with someone who has their camera "up there". I get to have a meeting with #1, his conference room and #2, the top of his head. The worse the location of the camera, the worse your experience will be. Your microphone should be close to you so the other participants can hear what you're saying. Be mindful though of clicking your keyboard, tapping your fingers or shuffling paper too close to the mics.
The user is everyone in the meeting. For everyone to have a better overall experience it requires effort. Sure a one-button push meeting sounds good, but if it negatively affects other parts of the meeting you're not going to have a good experience. The user is not the reseller, not the installer and certainly not the IT department.
The experience is what all the participants take away from a video conference. The best experience is when you don't realize that you were in a video conference, just a meeting. You interacted, you got your business done and could look your colleagues in the eye.
A better overall user experience starts with you. So smile, you'll look better.