Over the past few months, we’ve been taking into consideration how our clients use our video conferencing technology, especially on the new Meeting Room where most of the magic happens! Through research, planning and diligently reaching out to clients, we’ve been assessing what we can do in the back-end to improve the customer in-call experience in the front-end.
Based on current trends, how clients are using the current technology, and how we see video conferencing shaping over the coming year, here’s what we’ve done to make FreeConference.com stand out and be a key player in the industry:
New Toolbar Location
A Dynamic Toolbar
Better Access to Settings
Updated Information Bar
By updating these functions, we’ve been able to improve the meeting room user experience and make it work more smoothly. Welcome to the updated FreeConference.com Meeting Room that is decluttered and easier to host and moderate meetings. Here’s what we’ve got in store for you:
1. The New Toolbar Location
While researching to see how participants were navigating the Meeting Room, it became clear that the floating menu with key commands (mute, video, share, etc) wasn’t easily accessible because it was only seen when the mouse was moved on-screen or the display was tapped. Not being able to view the toolbar at all times was less of a help and more of a hindrance!
Now, the toolbar is stationary and visible at all times. There is no need to search the screen for the menu/toolbar. It’s permanently at the bottom of the page and will no longer disappear if the user becomes inactive. Users can enjoy this more intuitive and user-friendly approach to being able to view and click the toolbar at any time.
2. A Dynamic Toolbar
Still keeping in line with a toolbar that works for you instead of you having to work for it, what was once two toolbars (one located at the top and one at the bottom of the screen) has now become just one toolbar at the bottom.
Participants will notice that all secondary features are neatly tucked away in the new overflow menu labeled “More.” This change in location offers instant control to the commands that are used more frequently and to neatly “put away” commands that aren’t used as much like Meeting details and Connection.
The most important controls – audio, view and leave – are made visible upfront and center so there’s no time lost hunting on screen for an important function. Intuitively designed, the participant list and chat buttons are also located on the right, whereas everything else is on the left.
Another addition includes the instant resizing of the menu that dynamically snaps to fit the device it’s being viewed on. On mobile, the important commands will be viewed first with the buttons and remaining commands pushed up into the overflow menu.
3. Better Access to Settings
Looking to make your experience more customized? We’ve recreated the user navigation to accommodate what you need and have it readily accessible to you when you need it, like when you need to sync your headset to Bluetooth on your laptop or have to adjust the settings on your camera for optimized viewing. Settings like Bluetooth or switching from the built-in to external camera are quick to click.
Changing your virtual background or accessing the camera icon to verify which device is being used is also painless. No need to click, dropdown, and search for minutes to find it. It’s all there for you to see on the page.
Need to troubleshoot? It only takes mere seconds and fewer clicks. Just click the chevron next to the mic or camera icons. All settings can be reached via the ellipsis menu.
4. Updated Information Bar
To make it easier for current clients and more appealing for guests coming in from other services, the view change (Gallery View and Speaker Spotlight) and full-screen buttons have been brought up to the top right of the information bar. At the top left, the timer, participant count, and recording notification have remained in place. This information bar now remains static.
Furthermore, participants can click the New Info button where they can easily see the meeting details. This information can also be accessed from the bottom menu bar.
FreeConference.com is proud to offer these updated functions and bring clients the best user navigation and experience possible. As a result, we’ve been able to declutter the page and make it more visually appealing and intuitive to use. With more commonly used commands available upfront and less used commands accessible via the overflow menu, plus settings that are only a few clicks away, participants can expect a high-quality calling experience that mirrors today’s current video conferencing trends.
Ready to sign up and try it for free? Sign up here or upgrade to a paid plan here.
Now that a lot of us are at home using video conferencing to connect with everyone from the office plus family and friends, we’ve gotten pretty used to having to work from different locations. Maybe you’re set up at your kitchen table, or you’ve moved things around to accommodate an at-home office. Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to lounge by the pool with your laptop!
For those of us who’ve had to figure out ways to make working from home work, it’s all too common that your space gets cluttered, or looks messy. Save time, and money while spicing up your everyday backdrop – try a virtual background. Especially if you’re looking to come across as put together, adding a Zoom custom background helps keep the meeting distraction-free.
So if you don’t have a pretty place to work or your family or roommate needs to walk around in the back, don’t stress. Here’s how to use and change up your Zoom background. The best part? It’s easy and there are plenty of appealing options to choose from.
How To Change Your Zoom Custom Background
Before a meeting:
On your Mac or Windows computer, download the Zoom Desktop Client.
Log into your Zoom account.
Select the gear icon at the top right-hand corner to navigate settings.
Look to the left menu. Select Virtual Background.
Choose a Zoom background or select the “+” icon to upload and use your own image.
Changing Zoom background during a meeting:
Click the “^” arrow next to Stop Video.
To swap or turn off your Zoom background, Click “Choose Virtual Background”
Zoom comes loaded with options to choose from and gives you the option to upload your very own background, like your brand or business’ logo and proprietary colors. Depending on your mood, the nature of your meeting, and the type of work you’re doing, there’s a perfect virtual background for you.
Here’s the thing though; While Zoom might be at your top-of-mind awareness for web conferencing needs, there are many other hard-working Zoom alternatives on the market that pack just as much punch and come with sophisticated features like custom meeting backgrounds to make your business stand out.
Try FreeConference.com for professional background images for your virtual meetings. Start your free video or voice conference call, share your screen or create a meeting room – for free! No credit cards are required, no contracts, and no extra equipment. FreeConference.com offers high-quality conference call service at no extra charge. You can host or join a free conference call with up to 100 participants, create a free online meeting room for webinars and presentations and use free screen sharing and free video and audio calls with your colleagues, clients, family, and friends.
Plus, FreeConference.com comes with industry-leading features and technology for your free conference call – virtual backgrounds included!
Select the cog icon “Settings” from the right side menu
Select the Virtual Background tab
Select one of the following:
To upload a background
Blurr your current background
Select a default option
Use a virtual background to blend in or get noticed during an online meeting. Choose a beautiful landscape or abstract shapes and designs; Or pull up your own background image to enhance the visual appeal or showcase your branding. Some of the dynamic and fun, professional-looking backgrounds include abstract glass, Denali mountainscape, houses in the sun, a stylish work office, waterfall rainbow or geometric.
If you’ve never tried a virtual background for your Zoom meeting, it’s really simple and so easy to get started! Try 1 or 10 different options from FreeConference.com right here:
Let FreeConference.com help jazz up your online meetings and virtual social gatherings with an exciting variety of backgrounds. Pull up bold and inviting colors or exciting and dynamic images. Plus, with FreeConference.com, you can upgrade your services to include audio and video recording, YouTube Live Streaming, Annotation, and tons more!
If you want to make your video an interactive experience that invites participation and engagement from your audience, then broadcasting to YouTube is the way to draw a crowd. This gives your following another way to join your live video conference. It opens up viewability because anyone can tune in live now or record and save to watch later. Choose to make your YouTube video conference call private or public depending on the nature of the content and who’s viewing it.
On your desktop computer, click the video icon at the top right of your account and select “Go live.”
If you haven't already set up your YouTube account to Livestream, select “Stream” and fill out the details for your channel.
A page will display as pictured below, copy both the stream key and stream URL.
Add your YouTube streaming details to your account:
Go to Settings > Recording & Live Streaming > Toggle On
Paste in your streaming key and share URL and click save.
If you wish to record all meetings, but do not wish to stream ALL meetings, note that you will need to stop and restart recording in order to live stream in the online meeting room.
(Note: From time to time YouTube will update these settings, so it is suggested that you confirm these details before each live streaming event.)
STEP #2: Share your live stream link with participants
Provide the link above with your “channel name.”
Recommended: Add it to your invitations and suggest it as an alternative option for “overflow” if you are expecting you may exceed the maximum total of 100 participants.
STEP #3A: AUTO LIVE-STREAM
Start an Online Meeting from your account dashboard.
AUTO live-stream: If you have enabled “auto-start” within your YouTube account AND “automatically live stream” in your conference account, once a second participant joins with their audio connected and the recording has begun, live streaming will automatically be initiated. You can verify this in your YouTube account.
STEP #3B: MANUAL LIVE-STREAM (This feature is only available to a moderator)
Click the “Record” icon in the top toolbar.
Select “Record Video.”
Check the box “Live Stream Video.” (NOTE: This will only appear if you have already entered your YouTube credentials shown in step 1)
Click “Start recording.”
Navigate to your YouTube account and select Create > Go live.
Create a new live stream or open a scheduled live stream (ensure the streaming key is the same as entered previously in your conference account).
Click on the blue “GO LIVE” button. This will start a live stream on your YouTube Channel.
Get Set Up For Success
What’s your goal from going live on Youtube? What do you hope to achieve? Is it to include more viewers, expand your online presence, add to your communication and marketing mix? Promote or demo a product? Take viewers on a tour of the site?From there, you can work out the live stream setup. If you’re a team, you will have to delegate roles to each member. Will you need a host? Can you use a tripod for the camera or do you need someone to manage it?
Figure Out Timing
It will be impossible to please everyone, but depending on the size of your group and who’s participating, you can cater to many! When deciding a date and time for your live conference, if no one can see eye to eye or if your reach is very broad, try consulting YouTube Analytics to see what time your videos get the most views.Still don’t know? First YouTube conference call ever? No sweat. Pick a time that suits the majority of participants. A YouTube live conference call can be recorded too. If there are people who can’t attend, they can catch it later.Just make sure to schedule your live video conference in advance so that you can promote it and give people the chance to lock it into their calendars.
Test And Check Avoid snafus and failures by checking you have everything ready before you go live:
Remove distractions and busy backgrounds.
Adjust the lighting so you can appear well lit and not dimmed or shadowy.
Find a quiet space free of background noise. Check your mic to ensure it’s up and running and smooth-sounding.
Test your connection and network diagnostics.
Check batteries and have a power supply nearby.
Turn off your phone, notifications, and ringers.
Shut down unnecessary tabs and clean up your desktop for easy access to files, especially if you might be screen sharing!
Engage The Audience
Whether a conference, online meeting, seminar, live series, or any other format, keeping your audience engaged is key.
Remember: People will jump into different parts of your live video conference. Share a quick recap or if you have a guest speaker, mention their name and specialty.
Try getting viewers to make it all the way to the end. Reveal something that will have them watching from start to finish. Save the special announcement, the good news or a piece of important information as the final word.
Use Text Chat or Live Chat for people to chat on the side, ask questions or gain clarity.
With FreeConference.com, you can wow your audience by live streaming to YouTube easily. Seamlessly connect your FreeConference meeting to a YouTube Live Stream, broadcast live to various channels in just one take, and give your following multiple ways to join. Sign up for free here or upgrade to a paid account here.
Before jumping into any online meeting, you’re going to want to make sure everything is in working order, especially your webcam. More and more, it’s expected that participants turn on their cameras to participate in the meeting. Why? Seeing each other’s faces forges a better human connection. It’s helpful to put a face to the name if there are people you haven’t met and if you can’t meet in person, well, video chat is the perfect placeholder!
Whether you’re hosting or participating, you want to leave a good impression and that means your face should be coming through clearly without disruption or delay. Are you using a standalone camera or embedded? It totally depends on your device and while most mobile devices (like smartphones, tablets, and laptops) come with embedded cameras, standalone is still commonly used.
Here are a few ways to test your webcam before a meeting, plus some troubleshooting tips.
Typically, stand-alone webcams are pretty pain-free. They are designed to be effortless by simply being plugged in and played, and turned on and turned off. Issues aren’t common, but in the case of a problem, consider the following common possibilities:
This can be obvious but is oftentimes accurate – Try eliminating the source of power first especially if you’re using a standalone webcam. Start by double-checking it’s not only plugged in but that it’s a secure connection. Try a different port too.
These days, the majority of webcams don’t require the installation of a software driver, but if you have a camera that doesn’t seem to work, look at the manufacturer’s website or consult the user guide for further instruction. This is especially helpful if the camera is an older model.
Usually, once the webcam is plugged in, you should see a prompt or drop-down menu. If not, then look to see if your current webcam is selected. Oftentimes, an old connection might still attempt to connect. In that case, delete the old one and make sure the new one is selected.
Some programs have a “lock” feature, so check to see if your webcam is running in the background or being used by another program.
And if it’s still not working, then try the age-old solution of shutting down your device and turning it back on. There could be a problem with the port or corrupted software.
Once you’ve ruled out all of the above methods, you can jump online to find a site that will help you sort through your technology. Most video conferencing software comes with its own test (and with FreeConference.com you get an all-in-one diagnostic test that checks more than just your video!), but if you want to make sure that the camera itself (external or embedded) is fully functioning, then try the following options:
How to Test Your Webcam Online
Connected to the internet? Good! From here, you can search “online mic tester” to come up with a few sites that give you a fast and easy way to check your camra. Usually, all you have to do is open the page and click “play.” You will receive a prompt that asks you for permission to use our camera. Click allow, and you will be able to see a live preview.
How to Test Your Webcam Offline on Mac
This is a great hack that most operating systems on laptops come with:
Click on the Finder icon.
Click on Applications from the list on the far left-hand side.
In the Applications folder, look for Photo Booth. This will pull up your web camera’s feed.
If you have an external webcam, look at Photo Booth’s drop-down, drag your cursor to the menu bar towards the top of the screen and click Camera.
How to Test Your Webcam on Windows
Windows has a camera program that can be opened up using the Start menu. Your external or embedded camera can be accessed from here and opened up for further investigation. The camera app also comes loaded with settings and controls for navigating how your camera works. Look to the Settings option on the bottom left window
For Windows 10, open the Cortana search bar on the taskbar then type Camera into the search box. You will be asked permission to access the webcam. From there, you will be able to see the camera’s feed.
How to Test Your Webcam With FreeConference
While all the above are excellent for testing your webcam, FreeConference has a Call Diagnostic Test that allows you to run through all your gear in your video conferencing platform. You don’t need to venture anywhere else, everything is conveniently located in one place. FreeConference.com tests your microphone, audio playback, connection speed, and video before your meeting. Just one click of a button and all your tech is checked for a frictionless experience in your online meeting.
With FreeConference.com, you can feel confident entering any meeting knowing your video conferencing technology is top-notch. You cover the hardware, and FreeConference has you covered for the software. Browser-based technology ensures your connection is fast, easy, and seamless.
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Here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter if your brand is forward facing and relies on free video conferencing to be the bridge of communication or if you're a vendor selling a product or service. Both sides of the coin, (so the majority of industries) rely on audio visual communication to strengthen working relationships, gain clients, build trust and connect with the public. (more…)
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The Covid pandemic has meant LOTS of changes. If you are one of the lucky ones, the worst change you have experienced is more time in front of a screen. Working on-line coupled with binge watching with some gaming mixed in can easily translate into more time staring at screens than away from screens.
Whether for work or for play, you might be finding yourself connecting to people via your device more and more these days! Maybe you’re using video conferencing to keep in touch with friends and family, or you’re watching another great webinar put out by one of your favorite influencers. These are just two of the many ways in which web conferencing and web conferencing tools shape how we learn, communicate, and remain present in an online landscape.
If you’ve got a device, an internet connection, and the free web conferencing software that comes loaded with all the bells and whistles for a fully integrated experience, you are well on your way to exploring this exciting digital platform!
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With the state of the planet making its way from once being an afterthought, now to the forefront of how we live, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that we as humans can do our part to pitch in. The way in which we approach work, for example, can have mega effects on our carbon footprint as an individual as well as part of a workforce.
Remote work takes on many shapes and forms including the idyllic “digital nomad” pictures of
laptops-on-beaches flooding Instagram. Sure, that’s an aspect, but if you’re looking for other options, then this post is for you.
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