6 things I learnt about Adobe Connect

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A holiday on the Isle of Wight meant I was not able to attend the latest MIPAA Social Media New Influencers Insight event at SMMT HQ in London this week.

But this didn’t mean I couldn’t be involved. Enter, thanks to @greenbanana, Adobe Connect.

Signed up and sealed, I was ready to deliver. But for a Mac-based technical outage on the morning of the seminar. Oh, bother.

But wait! Adobe has helpfully designed a clever App, so I could still join in after all, via the iPhone. Here’s six things I discovered when I did so (while the rest of the family played in the sand and marvelled at the hovercraft).

1 To touchtype is hard

I spent several lengthy minutes composing short messages without typos – the combination of landscape keyboard layout, small text screen and need for urgency to get involved before the debate moved on meant either short comments… or, type-riddled more lengthy comments. The interface needs to be more user-friendly here – designers should be mindful of the dynamic conditions it may be used in. Oh, and include some autocorrect functionality…

2 It’s not clear how to use it

I played around with the App prior to the session, with limited success. It’s not so clear how to get involved and it was only when the session was underway that I realised audio was played as soon as you joined (at first, I couldn’t hear it at all, due to ambient noise – see below). I also remain unclear how to speak with other delegates via audio and still don’t know if my typo-riddled messages were seen by attendees…

3 It’s hard to hear what’s being discussed

Audio was played through the iPhone speaker. Far from the finest quality thing in the world. When outdoors, as some App users may well be, it’s only possible to hear what’s going on if you, literally, press the speaker next to your ear. Odd looks from Isle of Wight holidaymakers ensued: it also restricted my ability to read messages and, if I wanted to, speak to delegates at the same time.

4 Video won’t work unless you have a headset

For the above reasons, the only way to speak with delegates using the video App will be with a headset. Not the first thing I pack when going on holiday but worth bearing in mind. Indeed, maybe this is Best Practice for using smartphone Apps like this – Skype included?

5 Lengthy seminars are not iPhone-friendly

The App seems to munch battery, which is far from ideal when you’re an iPhone user. I clocked 25mins before the thing shut down and ended my involvement in the session (and any followup conversations). USB tethering or a charge pack is imperative.

6 If you tweet, you leave the session

There was a #MIPAA debate underway over on Twitter. I wanted to hashtag and discuss – and I did so, but then realised this involved leaving Adobe Connect. How nice it would be to leave the App running in the background, listening to what’s going on, and tweeting in real time, Skype IM-style. Possible?

Adobe Connect review

Let’s not techmumble too much, though. Adobe Connect is, overall, rather remarkable: I was able to sit on a bench on the seaside and listen to a seminar of experts discussing detailed subjects on another island. I was away, but could still be involved. With the right gear (the App probably works far better on iPad than iPhone) and prep, I could even videochat with delegates, which is pretty remarkable.

I will be using Adobe Connect again. As Chairman of the Guild of Motoring Writers, it could even provide answers to logistics challenges found in committee meetings. But it’s not something you can use without a trial run and a debrief.

Planning an Adobe Connect e-seminar? Consider planning a pre-e-seminar to bring everyone up to speed beforehand… and make sure all smartphone users have a battery boost in reserve.

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