Lync Web App – The ‘join from browser’ experience

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Have you attended a Lync Online meeting using only your web browser? I attended an Ignite webcast, hosted using Lync. I left my power adapter for my laptop at work. My laptop is a 6 year old HP laptop and the battery lasts about 30 seconds without power.  So I needed to join the meeting using another laptop at home.  The point is, I could join with minimal setup. It’s now easier for your contacts to join your Lync Online Meetings.

Lync Online works best through a web browser that supports HTML5.
Check to see if your web browser supports HTML5 using this online test at HTML5test.com.
I fired up our Windows 7 Home Premium, running Internet Explorer 9. IE9 is an HTML5 capable browser. I was able to join the meeting quickly, seeing the shared desktop, instant messages and shared content.

Video – Attending a Lync Online meeting from your web browser

Getting meeting audio via your web browser – Install the Web App plugin

As I joined using the URL for the meeting, I was presented with the option to install the Web App plugin, what used to be called the Full Attendee Client. This allowed me to use audio and video devices on my computer.  I didn’t need to call in.

Note:  Web App plugin took 2 attempts to install.  Our home laptop was busy starting up still. But the Web Client gave me the option to join the meeting anyway. It displayed the meeting content and gave me another opportunity to install the Full Attendee to get audio. The Full Attendee was 7MB and took about 30 seconds to download and install.

Trouble installing the Web App plugin?

Review this help article to troubleshoot.

One of the things I see when guests try to join a Lync Online meeting is they sometimes skip installing the Web App plugin and then start typing, “I’m not getting Audio”. You may have to leave the meeting and re-join to get the option to install the Web App plug in again.

This help article will show you the options you get when you install the plug in.   Choose “Join Meeting Audio using My Computer”. One other common occurrence is attendees can forget to mute themselves. Some meetings will automatically mute an attendee as they join. But if you need to mute yourself, use the mic button.

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Meeting Options

Access the Lync Web meeting options to adjust your audio and video settings and get meeting details.

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Access Options for the Lync Web meeting.

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Meeting Audio Options – For Lync Online meetings, it is best to leave Join meeting audio set to Lync call.

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Audio Devices – Change these options if you have multiple audio devices. You may need to specify that you want to use a headset for audio, rather than your PC mic and speakers.

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Video Options: Looking my best, at 4am in the morning attending the Ignite session.

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Meeting Details – Copy the URL to the meeting from here if you want to share it. Note that this meeting was held on a Lync server that provides phone numbers to get meeting audio. Most Lync Online meetings wont provide Join by Phone unless the meeting organizer has subscribed to a conference bridge service for Lync Online.

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Lync Web App Help

Lync Web App Help can be accessed from within the meeting. It helps to be prepared before your meeting. Though I know many of us face the Calendar reminder pop-up and “Oh that’s right, that webinar” scenario. If you want to explore the help options now, use Lync Web App Help

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Lync Web App in Touch Mode

You can use a mouse to navigate the meeting room, or use touch gestures such as tap and double-tap on a touchscreen device. Select the hand button to switch between touch and mouse navigation modes. If you’re using Lync Web App on a touchscreen device, touch mode is on automatically.

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Pick a Layout – Different ways to display the meeting, presenters and attendees

  • Gallery View – The default, displaying meeting Presenters and Attendee’s in a “gallery” along the top.  If these presenters were using video, the icons would be replayed by their video.
  • Presenter View – Presenter picture or video displayed. The picture of video will change, depending on who the active speaker is. Guests don’t have a picture, but if they have shared video via this web app, it will be displayed. So if you take yourself off mute to ask a question in a meeting, your picture will be displayed here. It’s a good motivation to make sure your picture is professional.
  • Presentation View – No presenter or attendee pictures. Focus on the content.

Gallery View

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Presenter View

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Presentation View

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Full Window View

Full Window view Auto-hides the meeting buttons and info. I found this view easier on the eyes too, with the dark background and a better focus on the meeting content. I was able to select the IM button and dock the messages. The 3 Layouts: Gallery, Presenter and Presentation are available in Full Window mode too.

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Instant messages pop up and docked

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Presentation Options

If I was a presenter, I could present my own desktop. Options to share a OneNote notebook and attach other documents are available.

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Summary

With an HTML5 capable browser, you can easily join a Lync Online meeting and participate with audio and video. It certainly helps when you need to join a meeting from a computer that doesn’t have the full Lync client installed.

It also helps those busy IT Pro’s who occasionally forget their power adapters and have to hurriedly join the meeting from a spare computer at home, at 4am!

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3 thoughts on “Lync Web App – The ‘join from browser’ experience

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