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In a warm summer back in 2007, something magical happened. It was the first time that the technology of “smartphones” exploded in popularity through Apple’s first iPhone. Shortly thereafter, a great number of smartphones appeared on the market. Fast forward to today, and they are dominating in ways we could not have predicted nearly a decade ago. The tablet computer — a concept pioneered by Microsoft that became popular with Apple’s iPad — has now become an essential device in almost every large organization.
These new devices not only made it possible for us to communicate with ease, but it also brought forth new dimensions of collaboration, entertainment, and workforce applications. For example, you can start or join a Zoom meeting, and screen share your applications and cloud documents – all from your mobile device! That said, many people use Zoom on their desktop computers and in their conference rooms to take full advantage of the high streaming resolution of our meetings. When you are zooming from a larger screen though, there’s a tendency to forget that mobile devices have their own little quirks that we have to work around.
If you want everyone in your meeting to have the same experience, you just have to accept the fact that some people may join in through a phone or a tablet. In the case that someone joins your meetings from a mobile device, you must keep a few things in mind if you don’t want that person to miss out on some of the things you’re demonstrating.
The typical smartphone has a screen measuring anywhere between four and five inches. This presents a bit of a dilemma when you’re trying to show someone something the size of a LEGO brick to their tiny screen. Even on most tablets, small objects aren’t exactly viewer-friendly. Sure, you can make out what’s going on a lot better on a seven-inch screen than a five-inch screen, but the difference is far from astronomical. Keep in mind this isn’t a resolution issue. Most phones have a high-enough resolution to capture all of the detail from a Zoom meeting. The problem is that even with this large resolution, the scale at which it is being shown (the size of each physical pixel on the screen) is so small that it turns into an uphill battle very quickly.
So if you know someone is joining in from a mobile platform, keep everything as large as possible. You might want to go as far as trying to sit closer to the camera, since your face may be difficult to observe if you’re in the back of the room.
Zoom presents you with the wonderful opportunity to share your screen to the world across mobile, desktop, and conference room platforms. Okay, maybe not the entire world, but another 24-99 people (3,000 in a webinar) is plenty. The thing is, some of these people might be using small screens to view your screen sharing. Imagine if you shrunk your 20-something-inch monitor down to a quarter of it’s size. Would you be able to make out the text in what you’re reading now if it were shrunk to those proportions? Even if you had an ultra-HD 4K resolution on your phone, you’d have to hold it up to within a centimeter of your nose to make out a 36-point font.
The point here is that when you have someone joining in from a mobile device, you should try to screen share larger, graphical images, as opposed to rows of tiny text.
Aside from screen size, phones also have less-than-optimal speakers. On your desktop computer, you can hook up immense high-fidelity 9-channel surround-sound speakers (or anything else that requires lots of flashy hyphens to describe it). This option does not exist on a phone. The best you can do is pair it up with a Bluetooth speaker, which does improve the situation moderately.
Since phone (and, to a great degree, tablet) audio is generally not top-of-the-line, you should take this into consideration if someone joins a meeting from such a device. Use a cheery, moderately loud, and clear voice to reach out to your mobile participants. You can also recommend to your participants, especially those with cheaper devices, that they hook their phone up to a Bluetooth speaker or a set of headphones.
If you run into a situation where have to breach the comfort of mobile device participants, there’s always the record button. Just record your meeting and distribute a copy to everyone. That way, if someone misses out on part of the experience, they can relive it on another device with more flexible viewing and listening capacity.
Want to make sure the experience is perfect for a mobile user? Join the meeting from your phone! You can either start the meeting from your phone, or if you’re in your office, start the meeting from your desktop computer and then join from your phone. Mute the audio from one of the devices and you’re set! You will now see everything your mobile participants see, which allows you to better tailor your presentation to them.
In general, if you have trouble seeing something in the meeting from your phone, it’s likely that others will also have the same problem on theirs.
While mobile audio and video may not have fully caught up to our collaboration revolution yet, Zoom is definitely the best way to meet on-the-go. Download our mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Blackberry. And if you love Zoom, please rate our mobile apps!