In our DisCO (Distributed co-design) pilot studies, we proposed a set of principles to work collaboratively in digital environments that are clustered in the three co-design layers of practice: Planning and Facilitating events, and Designing creative interactions. One of these principles involves defining the appropriate platform where the engagement with organisation, internal and external partners, and communities will happen.
We have designed and facilitated events, designed creative interactions, and experienced online events using Zoom and Microsoft Teams, exploring different mechanisms to support our DisCO approaches. Knowing what each platform can do has enabled us to design creative and fun events using Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Both platforms do not necessarily require the desktop app to join online meetings, allowing meetings to run on the browser. However, the meeting experience from the browser is limited. In essence, both work as a video conferencing and online meeting platform with some differences described as follows.
|Interface and applications
|Zoom has a more simplified interface for hosting a video conference. It requires external applications to enable creative interactions, such as google docs, Miro or Mural.
|Teams has a more complex interface but enables different creative interactions through an integrated set of applications for doing collaborative work and shared cloud system such as Word, PowerPoint, and OneDrive. This advantage allows collaboration to happen in asynchronous ways (different times).
|Zoom gives more control
to a host and co-hosts to manage a meeting. It centralises the technical details to the host.
|The organiser and presenters can mute, remove and admit participants and share content, and therefore give less control in a meeting. It requires more autonomy from participants to do technical interactions.
|Zoom has different video layouts. A grid view can display up to 49 participants in a single screen (Gallery view) but can also focus on one participant in a large video window (active speaker view), and mini videos.
|(Aug update) Teams can also display up to 49 in a grid display and will soon have a Together mode with an auditorium view as a shared background.
|Zoom has a more simplified process to join a meeting using the app as it does not necessarily require a person to sign into the Zoom app.
|Teams is more complex and requires a Microsoft account to get most out of the available features.
In the documents below, we shared some interesting things each platform can do, building on the set of principles to work collaboratively in digital environments.