Last year, we started something big. We released an entirely new client for participants based on HTML with nothing to download or install. No Flash required. The new client is fast, accessible, and modern. It’s a great option for attending a meeting, webinar, or virtual classroom.
This year, I’m excited to announce that we have another major update. Adobe Connect 10.5, which will be available this summer, is focused making the HTML client even more robust by adding features to complete the participant experience.
Native Support for Document Sharing
With our initial release last year, we were able to add every pod type from our desktop application to our HTML client, including Attendees, Chat, Files, Notes, Polls, Q&A, Share, Video and Web Links. Our Share pod though was limited to screen sharing. While many web conferencing platforms only support screen sharing, we understand how important it is to upload content into a persistent virtual room.
By uploading your content into your Adobe Connect room, you’re providing a better experience for your participants compared to screen sharing. Native content looks better and uses a fraction of the bandwidth. It’s also more accessible for customers using screen readers. Uploading content is especially beneficial with a persistent room. It means you can setup your room hours or days ahead of time, and re-use the room and content over and over again without additional setup.
Adobe Connect 10.5 adds support for all of the same types of documents our desktop client supports. These include:
- Slides (PPT & PPTX)
- Documents (PDF)
- Video (MP4)
- Audio (MP3)
- Annotations & Whiteboard
- Courses (Adobe Presenter / Adobe Captivate)
Adobe Connect 10.5 introduces a new conversion engine for PowerPoint slides that results in your slides looking better in both the HTML client and desktop application. We’ve improved our support of the PPTX format and added better support for Smart Art, symbols, and equations.
The HTML client goes beyond simply displaying your slides though. If a Presenter decides to unsynchronize the presentation, participants will be able to navigate through the deck themselves, see speaker notes, and even search. All of the Adobe Presenter controls are available.
Uploading an Adobe PDF document is a great way to share information with other attendees. Adobe Connect 10.5 can not only display a synchronized view of the PDF to all participants, but if a presenter chooses to unsynchronize the view, the participants have full document controls to navigate and zoom in on areas of the document independently.
Audio and Video
Using media in your virtual room is a great way to keep people engaged, and Adobe Connect 10.5 makes some improvements to the overall experience for participants. In addition to being able to display both MP4 video files and MP3 audio files, the latest version of Adobe Connect adds the ability to hide the playback bar for participants.
Whiteboard and Annotations
We’ve built functionality into the HTML client that enables participants to view all of the annotations made in Adobe Connect – whether those are on a blank whiteboard or on top of other content such as slides, documents, and event video.
Loading course content from Adobe Presenter or Captivate into a meeting has always been a powerful way to engage learners while transferring knowledge or testing their understanding. Content exported from Adobe eLearning authoring tools can vary from a simple quiz to a more complex simulation. Adobe Connect takes care of automatically un-synchronizing this content so each learner has their own experience. These authoring tools have been able to export to HTML for some time, and we’re delighted that we can now support that content in our HTML client.
From my very first blog post, I’ve always called the ability to add a custom app to Adobe Connect my favorite feature. For many customers, custom apps are an important reason they choose Adobe Connect. It gives them ways to extend the product functionality in unlimited ways.
Improvements to Adobe Connect Central
Although most of the features in the Adobe Connect 10.5 release have been focused on completing the participant experience in the HTML client, we’ve also been hard at work improving the web interface for Adobe Connect – Connect Central.
The team has implemented a brand new search capability that’s faster than ever and adds new options for filtering and finding your content, meetings, recordings, events, and learning quickly.
We’ve also made some improvements to Adobe Connect Reports. The entire interface has been re-written in HTML, replacing the Flash-based interface. The team has also added six new System Usage reports to make it easier to find the information you’re looking for. These new reports were all added based on requests from customers, so please continue to let us know how we can improve Adobe Connect.
Finally, we’ve added a brand new customization option in Adobe Connect Central for the HTML client. Customers can add their own logo and choose the colors of the HTML client either by selecting them from a new color picker dialog or specifying the exact HEX code to ensure it matches their brand. The team has built in some accessibility best practices into the customization wizard which will alert customers if the color options they select have low contrast and may be difficult to see for people with visual impairments. For the first time ever, we’re also including some built-in sample themes you can select from.
The Road Ahead
Adobe Connect 10.5 marks a major milestone for our team on our journey from Flash to HTML. Adobe Connect 10 introduced our new HTML client to the world, and now version 10.5 provides the complete participant experience to that client. We think it’s one of the most significant releases of Adobe Connect we’ve ever released and we can’t wait for you to start using it this summer.