After I wrote a post about a web conferencing feature I’d like to see, Dan challenged me to give a longer list of features I’d like in my ideal webinar product. I don’t really want to play generic product manager for the entire industry, but here are a few ideas that I dug out of an old post from the previous incarnation of this blog. There are a lot, so I am only going to give a quick “general concept” summary of each one. There are many details that would have to be worked out for real implementation, and I am fully aware that practical considerations determine how or whether they could work in any given product. But my advantage is that I don’t have to worry about that… I’m not building the software!
I’ll also readily admit that some of these exist in certain products already. But I don’t think anybody has the full set.
1) Support all PowerPoint animations and slide transitions, up to and including PPT 2007. Also support embedded fonts in a slide deck. I am tired of trial and error when I get a client’s slide deck to see which effects and fonts survive conversion and which don’t.
2) If notes are present in a PowerPoint presentation, give the presenter the option to see them while presenting (the audience should not see them).
3) Allow uploading and addition/replacement of a single slide in an existing presentation deck. This allows fast last-minute changes without forcing a reload of the entire presentation.
4) Allow upload of multiple slide presentations to a single meeting room, with fast and easy switching capabilities between presentations within a live session.
5) A presenter should be able to view or hide things such as chat, notes, thumbnails, etc and swap between full screen and windowed mode without changing the view for other presenters.
6) Give me a mode toggle when annotating slides for replace vs. add annotations. In replace mode, every time I add a new annotation, the previous one is automatically deleted. This would let me quickly put things like boxes or arrows on the screen to highlight the next topic of interest without having to do explicit delete steps first to get rid of old highlights.
7) Let presenters quickly see cumulative feedback results for the entire room at a glance. If you allow audience feedback settings, give presenters a concise summary of results without having to scan the attendee list.
8) Allow presenters to set priority levels or other indicators on queued questions that have been typed in by the audience.
9) Allow multiple choice polling with multiple responses per respondent ("Click all that apply"). Don’t restrict the number of allowed answer choices to a poll. Add more polling types (rating/ranking, drop-downs, points distribution).
10) Support synchronized viewing of video clips so everyone finishes at the same time and is ready to continue with the live program content. Probably technically impossible, so at least give me an indicator of how many attendees have reached the end of the clip on their computer.
11) Allow multiple modes when sharing web pages with attendees: (a) View only (audience can't affect display – classic screen sharing); (b) Follow me (audience members can interact with the web page on their computers, but Presenter can force the page back to a synchronized mode to show the next thing of interest); (c) Local interactivity (audience has full local interaction with the page and the presenter can’t affect their display)
12) Allow quick “bulk delete” of chat messages so I can ask the audience for trivial interactions like their name or home state and quickly delete the answers to more easily see the real submitted questions. For really big audiences, I’d like to set a marker before and after asking the question… Everything submitted in the chat between the markers gets deleted.
13) More interaction features! More! More! More! Interactive maps, games (like quiz shows), anything that gives me optional tools to engage my audience and get their hands on the keyboard and mouse.
14) Software-based integration of third-party audio. I should be able to connect to any audio conference line and web stream the audio as well as feeding it into my recording. No more hardwired bridges between my phone and computer mike input.
15) Integrate registration data with attendance data. Don’t make me manually link two reports to see full registration details along with each person’s chat messages, poll results, time in room, etc.
16) Add payment processing as an option for registration. There are a ton of specifics that go with this.
17) More customization options for registration pages. Let me insert custom text between input fields. Allow conditional display of fields. Let me change the order and labels for all fields, including the vendor’s standard required fields. Let me place items next to each other. Let me change font for labels.
That’s plenty to start with!