Mac users are being neglected by web conferencing vendors

There has been a large hype about web conferencing solutions for mobile devices for the last couple of months. And rightfully so. The mobile market – with the iPhone and iPad as forerunners – is growing at an incredible rate so it is mandatory that vendors of online collaboration tools make their solutions available to this growing customer segment.

Now this segment has been rudimentarily covered by the vendors, and the mobile applications – which we have tested extensively – make it possible for attendees on the run to experience an online meeting with the limitations their mobile devices set. So what is the next trend now? HD-video!

All well and good, but with all these new developments there is one thing that vendors keep disregarding. Of course it is nice to have new and flashy features. However, if you only make these available to one set of users and give the rest of us only basic functionalities, something is amiss.

You might have guessed it: We are speaking of the divide between Windows users and Mac users. What web conferencing vendors tend to disregard is that the online meeting market is different from all other software markets in one fundamental aspect: the rule that you need to make sure to cover the requirements of the vast majority (Windows users) before everything else does not apply. And why not? Simply because even though the Mac OS X user group is still small in comparison you do not know with which device an attendee will log into the meeting.

Even if only one attendee logs into the meeting with his Mac and the solution you are using does not support that, you have a problem. Fortunately, the better ranked tools in our comparison all offer some degree of Mac compatibility, which allows for attendance and collaboration in varying degrees. But even GoToMeeting clearly favors Windows users, and hasn’t developed their solution for Mac OS X further in the last years.

In our tool reviews we point at compatibility of the solutions with common Operating Systems. We will be keeping a close look at this issue and if a tool doesn’t show any promise of improving the service for Mac users, we will consider deducting points from the overall score. And no, that is not too harsh. This is a major factor in user friendliness, since a web conferencing host should not have to worry about whether everyone is able to follow him.

Online Meeting Tools Review alters website structure and includes ranking of web conferencing apps for mobile devices

On webconferencing-test.com we feature a direct comparison of the top 5 tools, split into our numerous evaluation criteria to offer a direct comparison between the best online meeting solutions on the market. Now, the top 5 additionally each have their own site with all evaluation criteria and detailed explanation of the results displayed at a glance. That means you can decide which focus is more important to you and then study the direct comparison or our detailed analysis.

And we added a feature. We have been testing web conferencing on mobile devices for quite some time now and decided it is time to add our findings to the site. That is why you will now find an additional link in the menu called Tablet & Smartphone support that indicates which mobile devices support web conferencing apps.

In the Web conferencing on mobile devices category of our blog we have posted the findings from several of our tests. When we began our research and analysis of mobile web conferencing apps we initially checked with the vendors to find out who claims to offer the means for mobile online collaboration. After gathering the initial input from the vendors we then tested the apps for ourselves to see if the tools deliver what the vendors promise.

So Ken Molay is a bit off in his Webinar Blog when suggesting that we rely on vendor information alone. But thank you for raising this issue Ken, we certainly could have communicated that more clearly in this case.

join.me on the iPad

The name says it all: with join.me you can attend meetings on your iPad, that’s it. Which is no real surprise since our comprehensive test of web conferencing apps for mobile devices revealed that currently not more is possible or even sensible for touch devices.

When you attend a join.me online meeting with your iPad you get very clean interface and transfer of the presenters desktop or presentations is smooth. As attendee you have only one option of interacting with others and that is via the chat functionality.

join.me chat functionality on iPad

join.me chat functionality on iPad

So basically, join.me fulfills the requirements of a touch device for web conferencing. To view the other vendors’ mobile apps check out our test results here.