Indicating the active speaker

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  • Updated 3 years ago
Active Presence does a good job of highlighting who's talking. But in Constant Presence, it's easy to lose track of where I should be looking. It would be helpful if participants' names were displayed in either grey or white (like in the attendee list on the right) depending on whether they're transmitting audio at the moment. (MS Lync 2013 has a blue bar under whoever's speaking.)

Additionally, the "grey box" participant that shows up when a user is not transmitting audio is annoying. It superimposes itself in a way that's very disruptive in Constant Presence mode, where it can block out the user in the top left.

It would be preferable from my perspective for all participants to be treated equally (video, non-video, dial-in), and integrated into the layout grid along with everyone else. But when they're not transmitting video, we'd see their profile pic, or grey audio visualization in the case of dial-in.

The you're handling active speaker now, it's sometimes not possible to minimize the sidebar because it's the only way to be sure who's transmitting audio.
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Nathan Maharaj

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Posted 4 years ago

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Brett Smith

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@Nathan - A lot of great ideas in here to improve the existing Layouts for browser. I see a few (please correct me if I am wrong).

1. Roster/Attendee call out for active speaker when in constant presence
2. Grey or highlight around the video PIP of the active speaker when in constant presence
3. Display all participants (this will be more challenging and we have reasoning behind this experience). Real estate is tight so we feel 9 feeds is the maximum to display to see everyone accurately. Also audio dial in participants taking up real estate instead of a video participant is less engaging.

I will share these #1 and #2 with our product team and update you here. 

Thanks for the great ideas Nathan!
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Nathan Maharaj

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Hi Brett,
Thanks for replying.
Re: 3: I'm not saying add more than 9. I'm saying incorporate non-video participants exactly the same way video participants are incorporated. I think you're making a unnecessary visual distinction in how the 2 types of users are handled. (and what are profile pics for anyway!?)

I disagree with your remark that audio dial-in participants taking up real estate is categorically less engaging. If they're speaking, then they're engaging. Right now, in Constant Presence BlueJeans is saying in its design that dial-in participants aren't engaging except when they speak, and then they're more engaging than whoever's in the upper left. 

I'm proposing that the only thing that changes when I turn video on or off is whether the window with my name on it shows video or my profile pic (or the audio visualization if I'm dialed in). No special layout treatment for users not transmitting video. BlueJeans makes way better use of screen real estate than MS Lync, except for how non-video users are handled. I love using BlueJeans and I'd love to see you guys pull out ahead.

Thanks again for replying. I think you've got a great product.

Nathan
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Brett Smith

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Thanks for clarifying Nathan. We will have product evaluate this ask this week. Curious if there are also other services you have tried that handle non-video users this way? If not, I will refer to the MS Lync example.
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Nathan Maharaj

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Further thought, as I come off a call in Constant Presence: what if the little "B" icon (the indicator of what tech the participant is using to join, eg. web/app/Lync/etc.) glowed while they were talking? 

That would be less intrusive than making someone's whole name glow, or having to introduce a new graphical element. And the little glowing B would be equally useful and unobtrusive in Active Presence, as a visual indicator that you should be hearing audio presently from the active speaker.
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Nathan Maharaj

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Picking up on the topic of indicating the active speaker... this is a pic from the Windows desktop app.

Who's speaking? Impossible to tell visually. No names, no icons. 

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Nathan Maharaj

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Another handy illustration: when someone without video joins, the upper-left person just gets obscured. Really awkward if those 2 are in dialogue.

And nobody's name is displayed. And there's still no visual indicator of who's speaking.