Good UX Design for Video Conferencing

4 min read
November 21, 2022

User Experience is more of an art than it is a science. Video conferencing is now a critical part of our increasingly online and interconnected modern lives. So finding the best user experience with your video conferencing solutions is a worthy priority to set for a comfortable and productive relationship with technology.

Table of contents

  1. There is no best UX, is there?
  2. Full customisability is key for good UX
  3. UI Design convergences
  4. Take our UX for a spin!

There is no best UX, is there?

While there can be a video layout that people become the most comfortable with, there is no one UX that works objectively the best for everyone all the time.

The key to a good user experience is flexibility.

A good user experience is an adaptive interface that can respond to users’ preferences at the moment. Users may prefer to access video conferencing from a mobile device, from a browser, or they may feel more comfortable with a full stand-alone desktop application. 

In addition to accessing video conferencing software from where a user is most comfortable, a user may have different auxiliary purposes in mind each time they start up a video conference.

At any moment a user may want to share a screen, or a file – and the user interface should adapt to that fluidly without having to be manually adjusted by the user.

Adapting with a range of options for facilitating file and content transfers is almost universally preferred over a rigid user interface.

Full customisability is key for good UX

So why not allow and encourage them to change what they do or do not want to show? Every software is unique. Therefore, every part of a user interface should be configurable.

From branding, to layout, to available features for video conferencing participants – any aspect of video conferencing software that’s delivered to an end-user should never be set in stone and the user should be in full control of ultimately defining the experience that they want – down to every little button and fine-tuned screen size.

UI Design convergences

With all the talk of customisation and adaptability, there are some general trends that a strong majority of users nearly all prefer.

These are convergence points that point towards optimisations, and any video conferencing solution worth their salt should already come out of the box with these design principles already assumed and configured for the end-user to enjoy.

While customisation is a key to a guaranteed good experience, we paradoxically want to do as little of it as conceivably possible in order to arrive at the ideal experience of video conferencing software users.

Developers face similar problems when making software that’s going to be used for efficient e-learning, remote work, or embedded meetings.

The common problem and common customer base is where the convergences start.

  • Design minimalism

There is such a thing as feature creep. This is when a software package has had too many features crammed into it for it to be a streamlined user experience.

Software that’s packed too densely with widgets and features will increase the learning curve necessary for users to become comfortable with the software, and that increases the stress that using the software puts on the user.

In contrast, the core functionality of the video conferencing software should be front and centre, with as few things in the way as possible. 

  • Key-feature redundancy

The core features of any software will make up the disproportionate majority of what the software gets used for. It’s the 80/20 principle.

Given that these popular features are what’s going to be used the majority of the time, giving the user multiple paths to use that feature is a useful technique for cultivating a productive and stress-free user experience.

Users of stand-alone and web-based software enjoy and utilise on-screen buttons, drop-down menus, and keyboard shortcuts that all provide different ways of performing an action.

In general, you do not want to be confined to just one way of accessing the features that we know we will be using a lot.

  • Intuitive feature-grouping

Having an extensive and capable feature set is still important, even though keeping it out of the way of the main user experience takes priority over making software that can do a lot of cool things. The solution is in intuitive feature grouping!

The most intuitive way to find features is to group them together by similarity and functionality. That way, as soon as a user finds something similar to what they are looking for; they know they are close.

Furthermore, if they already know where something similar is to what they are thinking of, then they know where to look.

  • Accessibility and cross-compatibility

All the sleek application designs in the world can’t help a program that’s too inconvenient to use!

A user should be no more than 4 actions away from reaching the core functionality of a video conferencing suite. Ideally, attending a call can be done in just one!

Users also access their software from different devices, and through different layers of client software. Some users prefer to stay in-browser, or in the case of some notebook devices only can stay in-browsers. Mobile users sometimes use browser applications but mostly prefer stand-alone mobile applications.

Desktop users may use browser interfaces, but some may prefer to use a desktop application for maximised productivity.

There is a lot to consider in how users actually rencing utilities.

Furthermore, sometimes other design imperatives like security can impede accessibility to varying degrees. Do users have to remember a unique login? Are there going to be no authentication requirements for certain types of users? If so, which users do and do not require authentication? We would prefer to not require the extra step unless it were necessary for security.

Generally, hosts and moderators will require some sort of authentication, but guest attendants can usually join anonymously. 

Take Digital Samba’s UX for a spin!

These are some of the considerations that drive the design of cutting-edge video conferencing software like Digital Samba. Digital Samba is available for free trials and demos for anyone to try out and experience for themselves. 

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