In my last entry, I talked about audience feedback indicators and concentrated on some implementations in Citrix GoToWebinar. Some I liked, some I had reservations about. But here are two more GoToWebinar features for which I have unreserved respect and admiration.
The first is an audience view panel that shows a miniature representation of what the audience is seeing as you present. It effectively completes the round trip from your computer out to the network and back to a playback window on your own desktop so that you can check how bad the lag time is between what you push and what they see. The window is too small to pick out details such as text, but it is sufficient to see the big picture and know if things are updating rapidly or slowly.
Of course this is only a single data point and your network response may not be the same as all your listeners (especially if you have someone watching on a dial-up line). So Citrix backs it up with an indicator above the panel that shows the percentage of viewers who have received the full packet of latest bit updates (As you change things on your screen, Citrix only sends the video bits that have changed, not the full screen. So you can move your mouse around on a static screen image and it moves very smoothly on audience screens since only the few pixels representing the mouse and the image under it have to be updated.) You can see a running display of how long your audience is taking to receive your video images and you can adjust your dialog accordingly.
This is particularly great for live screen sharing in applications such as software demonstrations. You can make sure your audience is seeing the things you are demonstrating and you know that you are speaking to the image on their screens instead of the image on yours.
I wish every web conferencing vendor had this capability!