Dynamic View and Other Improvements Coming for Teams Meetings

Coming in mid-April to Fight Teams Meeting Fatigue

So good that it was announced in September 2020 at the Ignite 2020 event and then again at Ignite 2021, details of availability for the Dynamic View for Teams meetings feature are message center notification MC242824 (March 3 – Microsoft 365 roadmap item 65493). Dynamic view is scheduled to roll out to tenants from mid-April 2021 (updated roll-out date issued on March 17) with an expected completion at the end of April. It’s part of a bunch of new controls to make Teams meetings more visually attractive.

Some options, like Full screen and Focus (only available when someone is sharing content) and live reactions, are already available. Figure 1 shows the focus and full screen options in meeting options in the Teams desktop client (these options are not available in the browser or mobile clients).

Focus and Full screen options for Teams meetings
Figure 1: Focus and Full screen options for Teams meetings

Other features, like a new view switcher (includes focus, full screen, and choices of gallery views) and presenter mode are coming soon. In the case of Teams, “soon” is an ill-defined variable as delays often happen for features, even after they appear in a message center notification.

Making a Splash for Presenters

Presenter mode builds on the technology used to create background effects for people in meetings to create a virtual green screen onto which content and presenter can be combined. Another way of thinking about this is that it’s like a personal together mode only the presenter gets to choose the background they appear in.

  • Presenter shown in front of content (like a presentation). This is called standout mode and is supposed to be available in March. However, we haven’t yet seen a message center notification.
  • Presenter has the content above their shoulder. If you think about TV news reports from a studio, you’ll know why this is called reporter mode (Figure 2).
  • Presenter and content arranged side by side.
Teams Presenter Mode in its Reporter Option
Figure 2: Teams Presenter Mode in its Reporter Option (image credit: Microsoft)

Note: We use Microsoft images from time to time because a) it’s easier for them to run big meetings where these features are most useful and b) they have the software now.

It will be interesting to see how people use these modes in different types of meetings. It’s obvious that presenters must pay attention to camera positioning, lighting, and background to make sure that they don’t come across like amateur night at the opera.

Dynamic View Functionality

Many who attend a constant line-up of online meetings, either Zoom or Teams, are fatigued by the demands of electronic interaction, which is very different and perhaps more challenging than for in-person meetings. Microsoft says that dynamic view “intelligently arranges the elements of your meeting for an optimal viewing experience. As people join, turn on video, start to speak, or begin to present in a meeting, Teams auto-adjusts and personalizes your layout.”

In practice, this means that instead of presenting a flat set of attendee cards:

  • Dynamic view treats the tiles used for attendees with video feed enabled differently to those who only use an audio feed, Audio participants appear in smaller tiles (a reasonable call because a set of initials or a static photo in a circle isn’t very visually compelling).
  • Content shared in a meeting, like a presentation, app, or whiteboard, is given more space. Depending on how many people are in a meeting, dynamic view resizes attendee tiles to make more visible.
  • Users can spotlight selected attendees to make their cards larger than other participants.
  • The together mode view can appear alongside content.
  • Users can “dock” the gallery of attendee cards on the top of their screen.

Figure 3 shows some of the aspects of Dynamic view with attendee cards docked on top of the screen, larger cards for people with video enabled, and a large amount of the screen given over to shared content.

Figure 3: Teams Dynamic View (image credit: Microsoft)

Dynamic view uses the modern meeting (pop-out window experience), which is one reason why it’s not supported by browser and mobile clients. It’s also underpinned by work Microsoft did last year to enable video feeds for large numbers of attendees, supplemented by some smarts in the Teams client to allow users to decide if meeting elements (like chat) appear on screen.

Feeling bemused by all the announcements from Ignite 2021? The Office 365 for IT Pros team will push an update for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook on April 1 which includes details of all the features released to that point. At least, all the stuff we care about… which doesn’t include Microsoft Mesh.

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