By now we all know that web conferencing usage has skyrocketed in the face of Work From Home and migration of physical meetings to virtual. That doesn't just mean more use… It means more inexperienced users.
Web conferencing platform vendors have a responsibility to finally step up and fix longstanding design deficiencies in their products. They need to give meeting hosts the ability to unilaterally resolve participant mistakes.
- EXAMPLE 1: A participant types something into a public chat stream that they shouldn't have said. Maybe it's a nasty comment about the presenter. Maybe they didn't notice where their cursor focus was and typed a phrase into the webinar chat that they meant to type into a private instant messaging window: "Oh yeah baby… I can't wait to sex you up!" They're horrified. The webinar host is horrified. Can either of them delete that individual message from the chat? In too many products, the answer is no.
- EXAMPLE 2: A member of the presentation team accidentally sends a behind-the-scenes message out to all attendees instead of privately to fellow presenters: "Can you believe how stupid some of these people are?" Can you delete that message from the chat? In too many products, the answer is no.
- EXAMPLE 3: A participant joins the virtual conference with their webcam active and doesn't realize they are being seen by everyone else. Can the host shut down that ONE video stream without turning off video for everyone, including the presenters who are supposed to be on camera? In too many products, the answer is no.
Humans are fallible. Humans dealing with unfamiliar technology are doubly fallible. We aren't going to eliminate human error in virtual meetings… Let's at least find a way to manage it when it occurs.