Right now Teams is being used by many non-business people, and I have had a lot of questions about “how it works” for non-business or external users, as in: “what do they get and what do they have to do in order to participate?”
In my former post we discussed the email invitation to the Teams meeting for non-business users, and how it can differ depending on device and email client.
This time, we will look at getting to the meeting.
It’s the browser, baby!
In this part of the process the main difference is not in the email programme, but in the browser that people use. I have added a ton of screenshots so you know what participants can expect.
I use an up-to-date Windows 10 laptop with up-to-date browsers. This may already be different from what your “consumer” users have. I have no Mac, but I have used an iPad and an iPhone.
In the invitation you will see the link to join the meeting.
1. What happens when you click on the link?
a. Firefox and Internet Explorer
If you are using Firefox or Internet Explorer as your browser, you will get the message that those browsers do not support Teams and a nudge to move to Edge OR to download the app.
b. Edge or Chrome
If you are using Edge (the new one) or Chrome, you will get this nudge to either download the app or to join on the web:
I have occasionally seen this image, which is the new experience, or so I think:
c. Safari on iPad
If you use this, you will get a similar screen as for Internet Explorer or Firefox, except that you will only have “Get the Teams app” as suggestion.
d. Safari on iPhone
If you are on an iPhone you will get a warning that Safari does not support it, and a nudge to download the app.
2. What happens when you join on the web?
a. Edge or Chrome
When you have decided to open Edge or Chrome (if you are using Chrome as your default browser) you will get to this screen. You are requested to enter your name and click “Join Now”. Look at the bottom, where you are again enticed to sign in (if you have a Microsoft account) or to download the app.
After clicking “Join Now” you get into the lobby. As you may know, recently Microsoft changed the default settings for all meetings to “People outside your organization will have to wait in the lobby”. While I agree with this setting, especially now that so many new (and often non-business) people are using Teams, it led to a lot of questions in my organization because we had just been telling everyone that by default everyone could get into your meeting immediately. 😤
In any case, you will enter the meeting as a Guest with the role that the organizer has given you.
If you have a paid subscription to Microsoft365 it is worth signing in, because you will get the full web experience. The link to the meeting is accessible for everyone, so you can just sign in even if your Microsoft365 account has a different email address than the one that you have been invited with.
3. What happens when you download the app?
a. Laptop (Windows 10)
Downloading and opening the app can take a few minutes, so you may want to warn your newbies to start early or do a test run well before the meeting.
Once you have the app installed, and you click the meeting link from your email, you can use the “launch it now” button or your browser will ask you to open the link in the app. Internet Explorer just opens the app.
Once the app has opened, you will be requested to add your name and click “Join Now”, like when you join on the web. Please note that the app has two extra features:
- You can enter the meeting with a blurred or custom background (the toggle between camera and microphone)
- You can check your microphone by clicking on “PC Mic and Speakers” and then selecting “Test Call”. (Functionality that I know and ❤ from Skype)
You will enter the lobby as usual.
If you download the app and you do not sign in with a Microsoft account, you will enter the meeting as a Guest with the role that the organizer has given you.
If I download the app on my iPhone, give permission to use the microphone, and click that horrible long link from my email, it will ask me if I want to open the link with Teams and then I get this message (Time to meet):
After entering your name and clicking Participate you will get the lobby message, which looks similar to the ones above.
On my iPad the “Open in Teams?” message did not happen so I could not make the switch from my email to the app. I was also forced to sign in with an account, which is not the purpose of this exercise. Anyone out here who had more luck?
Copying the link to the meeting and pasting it into the Edge app on my iPad worked. It switched over to the app and I could enter as a guest, with the same image as above for iPhone (but wider).
What have I found so far?
- Your non-business participants do not need to have a Microsoft account to participate.
- You do not need to download the app on your PC, as you can participate on the web if you use Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome as your browser.
- Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox can not be used for a Teams meeting.
- If you do not have a Microsoft account (or if you do not sign in with it), you will have to enter a name when you log on, and you will participate as a Guest.
- The Teams mobile app is a must if you want to take part from an iPhone.
- Both the mobile and desktop apps may take a few minutes to download and install, so always ask your participants to download and test-drive well in advance, or start at least 10 minutes before the meeting.
- The desktop app will give you more options such as the custom backgrounds and the option to do a test call.
- If you have an external presenter or discussion leader, strongly suggest to use a laptop and download the desktop app as the extra options will be very useful especially for them.
Next time, we will look at the meeting experience.