Making a meeting effective is quite a task: Who needs to attend? What is the agenda? Is there even an agenda? There is some effort involved in a meeting before it actually begins.
This effort is increased when it comes to online meetings. When you remove the meeting from a physical space you loose many ways of interaction. You get no feedback on the other attendees’ body language. And, let’s face it, the other attendees might just be checking their email while you lead the discussion. As you can see, the planning of an online meeting or any face-to-face meeting needs to be given a lot of thought.
So we did just that. We sat down and thought about how to best plan a meeting ahead. Well, to be honest, we were shown how to do this. We sat through a presentation of the software “Meeting Efficiency“ which was developed by the Parmenides Foundation. And we were impressed. Although the tool offers a ton of features and functionalities we could instantly follow the workflow involved.
“Meeting Efficiency” can be a valuable aid in organizing and structuring meetings. If you want more than simply a mind mapping tool to assist you, you can check out the Parmedines Meeting Efficiency website.
No time to lean back and take a breather! With 30+ tools we do offer a very broad overview of the web conferencing market. However, there are many new solutions being pushed on the market and those tools that we already tested need a lot of re-evaluation to keep you up to date on upgrades and enhancements.
So we will sure be keeping busy and have some new evaluations and upgrades for you soon. To our list of evaluated tools.
We always like to take a look at anything that vaguely resembles a web conferencing solution. Some tools make us even look twice. A third look means: this tool needs to be tested.
Mindjet Catalyst only made it to the second look. This tool lays a heavy focus on mind mapping, which simply is not what we are looking for in an online collaboration tool. Although the software also allows for web conferencing, this is done by providing an older version of Netviewer – which is already featured in our ranking.
So you can have a thorough look at the tool here. Until it better fits our criteria for evaluation we will not test it.
Range and number of functionalities are top priorities for most vendors of online collaboration tools, sometimes without taking into consideration whether all those functionalities offered are really needed and make sense.
Talking communities’ top priority is inclusion, making web conferencing technology available for everyone. The tool can be used without broadband and offers a variety of interface languages for participants from all over the world. A text-to-speech functionality as well as various settings for size and color of texts also make the tool an option for the visually impaired.
The tool does have its limitations, though. It only runs on Windows, thus excluding all Mac-users... And it seems as though desktop-sharing was also not possible.
Still we think this is a refreshing approach to online collaboration. Since the initial aim of the tool differs greatly from that of the other tools in our ranking, a comparison is not possible. But you can find out more about talking communities in a comparative study conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.
A new release can actually bring improvements. Dimdim’s ease of use has really been spiced up. Screen sharing is now possible with a single mouse click. Ad hoc invitations via mail or chat are also effortless, all it takes is a little plug-in that needs to be installed locally.
A meeting-independent URL is another new feature which didn’t convince us, though. It does allow attendees to quickly join meetings, but the host has less control over who is actually attending. The new “action” buttons that have been included on Dimdim’s online portal are also a wee bit too large, but hey, they do get your attention.
More about Dimdim here.