Hey web conferencing vendors… Here’s a request for you and a chance to differentiate your functionality from your competitors. As far as I know, there isn’t a single web conferencing product that includes local magnification as a feature.
What do I mean by this? Suppose you are displaying a poorly designed slide of the type seen all too often in technical presentations. Tiny text, lots of little icons, arrows connecting various parts of an overall architectural diagram. The presenter is trying to lead the audience through a discussion of the details.
It would be enormously helpful to let the presenter drag a “magnification box” around an area of the slide. The enclosed content would appear in overlay, blown up to a larger size.
This is a concept that has been around in desktop computing for a long time. I found a web page with links to dozens of magnifier utilities for various operating systems: http://bit.ly/9xlAuq
There are lots of approaches to the interface design. Some utilities use an on/off toggle and a fixed area around the cursor. When the functionality is turned on, everything within a set distance around the cursor gets magnified. Some utilities let you choose the level of magnification. Some display the magnified content in a fixed-size box, others in a resizable box, others in a dynamic overlay that moves with the cursor. You can pick the implementation details that seem to make the most sense to you. Definitely try out some of the freeware utilities available on the web.
Here is an example showing a locally zoomed region on a slide. I used DesktopZoom for this one. Click on the picture for a larger display:
First one to market gets a big plug on my blog!