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?”
- We have looked at the email invitations and the variety of results you can get.
- We have also looked at getting into the meeting – which browsers work and which don’t, and what about the Teams app?
This time we will look at the meeting experience.
We started with a variety of email programmes, which all give different views and results. But all emails contain the link to the meeting, which is just a link, albeit a long and non-intuitive one. So in the end, everyone uses the same link in a browser or in the app. Let’s see what that brings.
I have the following people in my meeting:
- Myself, as the organiser and presenter, joining from my own tenant, initially via web (Edge), later through the app on my laptop
- Gerald Adams, an attendee joining from web (Chrome)
- Kim, an attendee joining from the Windows 10 app, not signed in
- Ellen iPhone, an attendee joining from iPhone
- My work’s account, joining as attendee from the Windows 10 app, signed in.
Prepare for an awesome (or awful if you do not like long posts) amount of screenshots!
1. Organiser/Presenter – web
So, this is what I see when I join the meeting on the web – the latest version of Edge.
Gerald is already waiting for me in the lobby:
And this is what I see when I start sharing my screen
When my presentation is shared I take a look at the options (click on … in the bar)
When I look at the people in the meeting I see that most of my “external attendees” have entered as a Guest, except Ellen van Aken (outside of your organisation) who has joined from another Office365-account. I can also invite other people, and mute all of them.
The presenter can also manage people individually, this is independent of web or app. I can make either people from other organizations (business users, in this case) or Guests a presenter or an attendee again, or I can mute or remove a person from the meeting.
I can also pin a person, which means I will always see that person when they have their camera on and nobody is sharing a screen, regardless of who’s talking.
2. Organizer/Presenter – app
What do I see when I join via the desktop app and signed in? I have some more options: meeting notes, background effects, the option for Live Captions and End meeting. (I can also check my audio settings before I join)
Not shown here, because I am sharing a presentation and Kim, Gerald and myself were on the same PC: with the desktop app (and the mobile app) you can see 4 people if you have the camera on, with the web only 1 person. That is where the pinning comes in handy. I can not wait until we will see 9 people!
3. Attendee – web
Gerald is the one attending via Chrome. This is what he sees: a greyed-out Sharing screen, and fewer options in his meeting menu (or whatever that popup behind the … is called)
4. Attendee – app
Kim is using the app without sign-in, as she does not have an Office365 account. What does that look like? She can not share her screen and has one extra option compared to the web attendee. (However, she will see 4 people when there is no screen sharing and people have their webcam on)
5. Attendee – iPhone
The meeting experience on the iPhone is different again. Please note the attendee is not signed in to the app. Top right you see chat and people options. There’s no “share” button, not even greyed out.
When you click the 3 dots in the meeting control bar, you have even fewer options than a regular attendee: just “put me on hold”, “keypad” and “turn off incoming video”.
6. Attendee – Business User
It was a bit of a juggle to get this meeting together with all these people (all of them ME) and all these devices and options. But a second user, with Office365 account and a fully-fledged laptop, was easily available (again: ME at work) so for comparison’s sake: here goes.
The meeting experience is very similar for all attendees, regardless of how they got there.
There is hardly any difference between a Guest (someone without Office365 account, not logged in) and Someone outside your organization (an external business user with Office365 account, logged in). The only difference is that the organizer/presenter can see who’s what.
The role is the largest differentiator – if you are a presenter, you can simply do much more than when you are an attendee. See the differences here.
There are some differences between web and desktop app. The main advantages of the desktop app are
- 4 people visible instead of 1 (when you have cameras turned on).
This has been a BIG issue in my organization, especially for our therapists doing online group therapy sessions. Most of our therapists have an F3-license, which means they can only do web and only see 1 person. We have suggested they also log in with their phone to see 4 more people. We have now installed the desktop app for them as well but we are still looking for another tool that shows more people. I really can not wait until Microsoft finally rolls out the 3 x 3 view!
- The option to blur or change backgrounds.
- The option to do a Test call.
- Live Captions. As these are currently only available in English, this is not relevant for my organization right now, but it may be a big plus for others.
The iPhone experience is sufficient, but sparse.
My suggestion would be to tell your non-business users to use the web version. I would only suggest to download the app when
- it is important to see 4 people
- a non-business user is the presenter (so they can adjust their background)
- when they join on iPhone.
Joining on the web will probably be easiest for them, especially if they are not very savvy. Perhaps you can just send them the link in an email, instead of the official Outlook invitation, and tell them to open the link in Chrome or Edge (new versions).