Adobe Connect – greats and gripes!

Adobe Connect is a fine interface for seeing slide content, hearing the speaker(s) and using the chat window to converse with other attendees.

I’ve often been annoyed in webinars where the chat window has been removed or limited as it feels very remote (read more of my thoughts on chat here). A Twitter hashtag for such a session, whilst great for externalising the session, means that there isn’t the same level of conversation and comment inside the session itself.

I genuinely think Adobe Connect is a great piece of software with a lot of great features, but also a lot that seem awkward. Here are my thoughts of some of the positive things and others to improve (originally published in June 2013!):

Pods

Once inside the Connect session, the interface is easy to use for the basics of sharing your PowerPoint file and chatting to attendees. The ‘pods’ for different pieces of content are a great idea. There is the slides pod, maybe a PDF to show, media clips to play, one with links for more information, another with documents to download and more…

All of those can be done on the fly or set up prior to the webinar, meeting or training session, which I really like. I feel like it’s the equivalent to my off-line planning and preparation for any similar session.

Presenter Only Area

Another great idea in Adobe Connect is the “Presenter Only Area”. This is a panel to the right side of the screen where you can drag all of your content pods ready to use in your session.

I love the concept of this feature. It reflects my table or desk when I’m facilitating a session, where all of my materials are organised and to hand when I need them. However there are several things about this feature that seem poorly implemented:

  • If I have even two pods on the Presenter Only Area that are sized ready to go into my online session, they are difficult to manage as they compete for space. I can’t drop the bottom of them off the screen and just have a grab handle to move it around (like a window in Windows or Mac); I can’t minimize it ready for maximising again to the right size ready to present. I can ‘hide’ the pod, but then this means I need to go through the menu system again to load it (three clicks and needing planning in file or pod names and confidence in the software). I don’t like this because I can’t have my pods sized, ready to go and visually in the Presenter Only Area. It makes this fantastic concept feel clunky and un-intuitive.

However… the layouts in Adobe Connect can get over this, as they allow you to pre-set your pods in different places.

This means you can use the Presenter Only Area as it’s meant – for on the fly changes and communication with your co-facilitators!

PowerPoint features… or lack of….

Some PowerPoint features don’t work, such as rolling or looped presentation. This works in Cisco WebEx, but not Adobe Connect. To get this to work you would need Adobe Presenter. However when I tried installing the trial of this software I got errors. Also it’s a cost point too!

Instead, I have three of the same slide, then repeat the whole slide deck. This means when it plays in Connect, it looks like it’s looping!

 

What do you like or dislike about Adobe Connect?

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