Are you familiar with the old chestnut about how there is nothing so uncommon as common sense? If you want proof of its validity you don’t have to look much further than your favorite webinar platform.
Never assume that web conferencing features will work the way you expect them to based on common sense. Test EVERYTHING you intend to rely upon, starting with basic scheduling and moving through the in-session experience, recording, reporting, and participant communications.
Without thinking very hard, I can conjure up a depressingly long list of examples:
- In Zoom, you can import registrants to a webinar from a CSV file. So obviously, if you set up registration for a meeting, you can use the same process to import registrants to your meeting… It’s just common sense! Nope. A meeting with registration enabled does not allow file import of registrants.
- In Zoom, you can separate meeting participants into breakout rooms during your session. So obviously, if you run a webinar you can use the same process to separate attendees into breakout rooms… It’s just common sense! Nope. Webinars don’t support the concept of breakout rooms.
- In Webex Events, attendees can set their Chat selector to “All Attendees” to share messages with the entire group. So obviously, hosts and panelists can see those messages… It’s just common sense! Nope. Hosts and panelists are not “attendees,” so they cannot see the messages or capture them in a local chat log file.
- In Webex Events, the host can save a copy of the Chat log to a file on disk, as well as a copy of the Question log to another file. So obviously, they default to the same save folder on the disk… It’s just common sense! Nope. Each file has a different default save location.
- In Adobe Connect, the presenter can use an arrow icon to point at something on a slide. So obviously, the size and orientation of that arrow is the same on attendee computers, otherwise you could never be sure what else you are covering up with the arrow… It’s just common sense! Nope. Participants using a web browser interface see a different arrow icon than participants using the installed app. The arrows are a different size and shape and point from opposite directions.
- In GoToWebinar, you can place a predefined dropdown selector for a registrant’s country on your webinar registration form. So obviously, the list contains all the major countries with significant populations who might attend your webinar… It’s just common sense! Nope. People living in Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq cannot find their country in the selection list. It doesn’t even have an option for “Other” that they can write in.
- In BigMarker, if you upload slides or a PDF to show to attendees, you see the content and can verify that everything looks correct. So obviously, attendees see the same image on their screens… It’s just common sense! Nope. Attendees see your slide with the addition of a BigMarker logo overlaying your content in a corner of the display area.
- In ClickMeeting, you can share the results of interactive polls with your attendees, just as in every other webinar platform. So obviously, you can suppress the number of raw votes and only show percentages if you need to cover up the fact that you don’t have many attendees… It’s just common sense! Nope. Poll results always show both the percent and number of votes.
This doesn’t even scrape the surface. I could go on and on. But you get the idea. The responsibility is yours to test every… single… component of your webinar technology to make sure it will work the way you think it obviously must.
If you don’t like the way something is implemented, TELL THE VENDOR. They make product development decisions based on the number of user grievances they get. If you don’t complain, you won’t ever see an update.