One of the basic questions we face is: Why do people love some video calls and hate others? Naturally, there are the bad experiences of connectivity problems, bad image quality, echoing sounds etc, but these are quite familiar issues with any online services. Yet, some services keep their users happy and others fail. The answer is deceptively simple: user experience is far more than just the connection. It’s everything from UI flow to visual design, from text style to support options.
Failure and frustration
By far, the biggest issue we hear from users is the difficulty of setting up a video call. To me (and to the users), this is infuriating – placing a call is a process that has been around since the first telegrams, it has been developed for decades in telephony and we have a massive amount of messaging tools that solve the basic setup without a hitch. Still, many video conferencing users struggle every single time they want to set up a video call. And it gets under your skin.
It’s easy to find reasons for why video calls are more complex to set up than telephone calls. There are issues such as proprietary devices with non-standard UIs, there are high demands for good connections, there are more failure-prone components in the equation. But in the end, these are just problems to be solved, not insurmountable obstacles.
Video calls must at least as easy to do as phone calls, preferably easier. This is what we strive to in our services. Our solution is to cut out all non-essential features, equipment and requirements. Sometimes this requires re-thinking the situation where calls are made. Sometimes this requires limiting possibilities to ensure the best experience. It always requires clear focus and user-centric design.
Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder
User experience design is not just about making things simple and hassle-free. It’s like designing a car – making a vehicle that is reliable, safe and fuel efficient is required, but by no means enough. It has to look good, it must look and feel reliable, safe and fuel efficient. It has to smell right.
Too many video call systems (especially teleconferencing and telepresence systems) are technically sound, but they look and feel outdated, old-fashioned, even ugly. For a user, this conveys a message that is far stronger than any technical specifications.
The basic user experience values hold true. A service should be clear, efficient and lovable. The Scandinavian way of design builds clarity: streamline everything from user path to feature set. Forget bells and whistles, communicate function with design. Efficiency is speed of use, and speed comes both from fast technology and simple, straightforward, error-tolerant user interface. Lovable in service design translates to good-looking, friendly, modern and sometimes even funny visuals.
One-click video calls
Placing a phone call typically requires 2-4 taps. What if you could open a video call with just one? That’s what can be done with an embedded video call feature. Have a button on your storefront that says: “Call a rep on video now”. When the user taps on the button, they’ll have a brief wait and a salesperson appears. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated.
One-click operation is why Facebook video calls are the fastest growing feature on the social media platform. This is quickly becoming the baseline expectation for all users. There just isn’t an excuse for a business application to be any more complicated.
Can we do one-click video calls for your business? Probably. Just contact us, we’ll give you a quick demo and talk how we could make that happen.