Unified Communications Featured Article

Adobe Connect Gets New Interface


November 01, 2010

A version of Adobe Connect that was unveiled has a new meeting interface to improve ease of use, enhanced audio and video, more unified controls, the ability to support specialized use cases, and a drag-and-drop feature to share various content.

Peter Ryce, Adobe Connect evangelist, said that in developing the new release of the product Adobe did usability studies. As a result, it decided to remove some features unique to its interface to make the UI more standard. To add to that usability, he continued, the new interface starts out by showing the most commonly used options, so occasional users aren’t overwhelmed with a vast amount of choices. However, the new UI offers additional features for heavy users as they drill down into the interface. For example, he said, if a user opts to load a PDF document into a meeting, that user is then presented with the option of adding a whiteboard layer to the meeting so participants can do a markup of that document during the collaborative session.

He adds that Adobe customers talk about “cognitive load,” during its conversations with them. To help them focus on the purpose of their meetings and not get caught up in managing the technology involved to do the meetings, Ryce said that Adobe worked to put everything for a particular function in one place so it’s easy for meeting leaders to find and grant various interactions.

One major enhancement with the new release is video integration, which lets users dial out to a conference call that is a videoconference. Some employees that don’t have video rooms at their work locations have to drive to locations that have video gear. But now customers can use Adobe Connection to interface with meeting rooms from a variety of vendors, including those from Polycom, for example.

While with the previous release of Adobe Connect users could configure the software to dial out to any audio bridge, the new release now allows users the option call to talk through their computers.

As for the drag-and-drop capability mentioned above, Ryce explained that while some collaboration tools employ screen-share functionality to share documents, that’s a very bandwidth-intensive way to do it. Adobe Connect, meanwhile, converts shared documents into Flash and delivers those files “silently in the background” to users, he says. Also part of the Adobe Connect Share Pod, as it is called, is a content library, which allows regular meeting leaders to keep select documents in the program so they don’t have to reload them with every meeting.

The company has also made some changes in its Notes Pod related to the formatting of notes. And its Chat Pod has a new tabbed mechanism for chatting, so meeting participants can do private chatting without the risk of chatting with the wrong people. Ryce added that Adobe is also trying to make meetings more personal by allowing participants to change settings, such as the color of their chat screens, as well as the font and point size involved.

The New Adobe Connect Desktop, meanwhile, allows all Flex and Flash developers to publish their apps to the desktop, and they don’t need to rewrite for different operating systems on desktops.

And Adobe Connect Mobile enables participants to view meetings on mobile devices. It works on Apple iPhone and iPad, as well as Google Android and other mobile devices that support Adobe Flash technology.

The premises-based version of the new Adobe Connect release is scheduled to be generally available by the end of this month. A hosted version of the product will be available shortly after that.




Edited by Jaclyn Allard




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