Some online conferencing solutions offer only one option, some offer both. But which is actually more useful?
With desktop sharing the focus is on the participants. The host invites the attendees to have a look at his desktop. This has the great advantage that quick change between documents and applications is possible and that the host can quickly search the file structure for an additional document if needed. If the entire desktop is shared, online meetings with external contacts may be a bit delicate if the entire desktop is displayed instead of selected applications. Also, a “messy” desktop or an unorderly file structure are sources of possible embarrassment. A good online conferencing solution should therefore definitely offer a screen cleaning function.
Web conferencing in virtual rooms focuses on the event. The atmosphere is not as “informal” as with desktop sharing. All participants meet in one room and have access to the same range of functionalities, e.g. presentation tools and a whiteboard. The possibilities of interaction are more restricted in a virtual room since documents must be uploaded and are often only accepted in MS Office or PDF format. Only few online conferencing solutions offer interactive handling of documents so that in most cases it is strictly watch or present.
Considering our focus on web conferencing solutions, desktop sharing definitely is the preferred option. If you think differently we would be glad to hear your thoughts.