In many audio conferencing situations, participants must share slides or other documents. A workgroup may want to work interactively on a spreadsheet or engage in other sophisticated online collaboration.
While PowerPoint slide decks can be readily E-mailed, other situations can be optimized and made more collaborative with a desktop-sharing tool. Ideally, a tool would work across multiple platforms and not require installation of special software. Access to the web-sharing session needs to be straightforward, and the tool needs to allow delegation of control by the host to other participants.
ZipDX offers web sharing with every conference. Access to the web-sharing session follows our “no-codes” model. The host and participants all log in to ZipDX.com, and choose the Web Sharing link associated with their active conference.
To be a Presenter in a WebShare session you MUST use Google’s Chrome web browser. Chrome is free and available for Windows, Mac and Linux systems. Participants viewing the WebShare may use any browser on any type of computer, tablet, or even mobile phone.
Use this Feature
- Starting a WebShare Presentation
Once the host has initiated the audio conference, the host and participants must all log in to ZipDX.com. On the home tab, look for the current conference under In Progress Conferences. You may need to refresh your ZipDX home page to see your “In Progress Conferences. ”
To launch the web-sharing session and make the host’s screen available for viewing, the host clicks on the start WebShare link. This will open a new browser window to manage the WebShare session.
If the Host has not previously used the WebShare tool they will be prompted to allow the browser to download the ZipDX Desktop Share browser extension from the Google Play store. The extension is required to use the WebShare tool. The file is tiny and downloads quickly, automatically becoming active in Chrome.
Click on the blue Share Screen button in the upper left corner of the window. This will open a prompt for selection of exactly what should be shared. It’s possible to share an entire screen, or a single application window. Note that if the Presenter’s computer has multiple monitors any one of them can be shared.
Once the source to be shared has been selected the ZipDX WebShare window will display a small proxy of the window or screen being shared. It’s at this point that participants viewing the WebShare start to see the shared content.
The green highlight around the WebShare proxy image is a crop tool. This can be adjusted to reduce the amount of screen or window being shared.
In general, reducing the size of the shared region reduces the bandwidth required for the WebShare. There’s little point in sharing all of a high-resolution screen if the item under consideration is only a small portion of that screen.
- Pausing The WebShare
The current Presenter can momentarily Pause the Webshare. This keeps the WebShare session alive but suspends sending updates to the viewing participants. Once paused, the button toggles to Resume, which allows the WebShare to continue.
- Ending The WebShare
Ending the WebShare disconnects all viewing participants without ending the conference call.
A Host can end the WebShare from the End WebShare button on the ZipDX web portal.
If the current Presenter is also a call Host they can end the WebShare via a large blue End WebShare button in the WebShare Controller window.
Note that the WebShare session ends automatically when the conference call ends.
- HD Mode
The HD Mode button in the WebShare Controller window indicates the WebShare resolution. The Presenter can toggle HD Mode by clicking on this button.
The default setting, HD mode (on), delivers superior image quality. This mode delivers a great experience when sharing PowerPoint or Keynote slides to viewers using typical computers & tablets.
Participants on slow internet connections are more likely to experience delayed or slower screen updates when HD mode is enabled.
- Changing Presenter
Only a conference Host can initially invoke the WebShare tool. Under the proxy for the shared screen the Presenter’s WebShare window includes a list of participants viewing the WebShare.
The list of names includes a status for Can Share based upon which browser each participant is using. Those using the Chrome browser are indicated by a link that invites the participant to share their screen.
If they accept that invitation their browser will load the WebShare extension and offer them a Share Screen button. Clicking on this button, they will be prompted to the select the screen or window they wish to share, as described previously.
The original presenter’s screen remains shared to the call until the new Presenter has selected the screen or application that they wish to share. At that point the original Presenter’s WebShare window changes to show the new Presenter’s screen.
The new Presenter’s WebShare window now has the proxy display and list of viewing participants. They can later pass the role of Presenter to someone else.
- Viewing A WebShare Presentation
Those participants who are logged-in to www.zipdx.com can go to their In-Progress Conferences and click on the Join WebShare link. No additional codes are required; however, participants do need to be “registered” at ZipDX.com.
If your call was created using a conference code you can also accommodate guests who are not registered with ZipDX. Instruct your guests to visit http://www.guest.zipdx.com where they enter the conference code and their name.
Participants can view the WebShare using any web browser, on any kind of device, including iPads, iPhones, Android tablets & phones.
- Viewer Display Mode
The participant’s view of the presentation can be adjusted to best accommodate the device that they are using and the nature of the content being shared. A blue button in the upper right corner of the WebShare window toggles the display mode between Actual Scale, Fit-To-Width and Fit-To-Height.
When choosing Fit-To-Width or Height bear in mind that the shared presentation may scroll beyond the edge of your display. When this occurs a scroll bar will appear allowing you to navigate around the page.
- Changing The WebShare Source Screen or Window
When the Presenter clicks on the Share Screen button they are prompted to select a screen or window as a source. Once a source is selected Chrome displays a small notice that screen sharing has begun.
The presenter can select a different source to share by clicking on the Stop sharing button on this notice strip. This will cause the ZipDX WebShare Controller window to return to offering the initial Share Screen button, beginning the WebShare startup process anew.
If the strip has been hidden it can be returned to view using the alt+tab keystroke to see the list of open windows.
- Sharing a URL
If the Presenter needs to share something that is not well presented using the WebShare they can share a URL to the viewing audience. Clicking on the blue Share URL button in the upper right corner of the presenter view prompts for a URL.
When the SUBMIT button is clicked the URL is displayed to the audience in the gray header bar of the WebShare client. Direct the audience to follow think when required. The WebShare view is sustained with the link opening in a new browser tab.
To later clear the shared URL from view revisit the Share URL button and remove the address shown.
- Tip For WebSharing PowerPoint
WebSharing allows the Presenter to choose to share an entire screen or one application Window. However, if the Presenter is using Windows 8, and they elect to share just the PowerPoint window, the viewers will not be able to see the presentation because of a quirk in Windows 8.
This matter is easily overcome by sharing the entire screen instead of just the application.
The very best way to ensure a smooth, professional presentation is to become familiar with the WebShare tool well in advance of your conference. Some applications don’t appear in their entirety when shared explicitly as a window, but do appear correctly when the entire screen is shared. Experiment with the applications you wish to share to ensure that they work as you expect.
If sharing an entire screen you may want to close or minimize other windows like E-mail and instant messaging programs. This will minimize distractions and keep you from accidentally sharing potentially private information. If you use dual monitors, you can keep other windows open on your secondary monitor, while your primary monitor is shared with the group.
You might consider the WebShare a little like the previews at a movie theatre. By starting the call just a little early, and having the WebShare active as participants join the call, you give them confidence that they’re in the right place and everything is working correctly.