This article is part of Sparklin’s fortnightly series — One thing at a time (OTAT).

When Eric Yuan left Cisco to create a new web conferencing product, he didn’t foresee two too-grand-to-believe kinds of things.

1. A pandemic almost choking the world of its possibilities in 2020, will make a product launched in 2013, to skyrocket and become a critical part of every workplace, educational institution and friend circle.

2. People will live in eternal dread, not just of this pandemic, but of exposing too much of their personal lives on this newly introduced video conferencing product.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made remote working a rather common and acceptable possibility than earlier. And Eric Yuan’s brainchild, Zoom, has made it normal to be in a meeting with the CEO of the company, right from your bed, while rubbing your eyes and wearing clothes that you might never wear outside the unseen comfort of your house 🏠

You may now carry your work anywhere — to your kitchen, living room, balcony, friend’s place, your hometown, a beach shack, or a hill-stationed villa,

But work from home (read: anywhere) has taught the remote workforce to put their best foot forward. Zoom calls are now automatically set up in the prettiest corner of our house. All necessary arrangements are made in advance to make sure that parents don’t pass through in the background or scream their heart out, while the call is on 🧑‍💻

Everything is perfect! Except, of course, that dreadful screen-share button on Zoom.

A usual day at work can lead to some 27 different applications open on your desktop. A click on the green share screen button pulls up a modal window with tiny thumbnails of 15 of those 27, which look indistinguishable from each other 🤯

This makes the process of sharing screens extremely strenuous and overwhelming.

Not anyone’s ideal situation 🙅

We do not have a solution for the 27 open application windows (we might have the reason though) but we might have found a nifty little trick to make your Zoom screen-share experience more ‘live, laugh, love’ and less ‘fighting for your life’.

Icon do it

The biggest challenge with the screen-share model of Zoom is that it presents you with miniature, non-recognisable versions of individual screens. These thumbnails often end up looking similar to each other, as a lot of commonly-used softwares have similar-looking interfaces, making it difficult to separate one screen from another 🔍

But one thing that is distinct to each and every software, is that all of them have different and unique icons. Hence, if these screens are accompanied with the icons of their respective softwares, they will become much more distinguishable and easier on the eyes of the user 👀

To discover these applications, you may also use another possibility, your old friend — a search bar. You can type the name of the application that you need to present on Zoom, and the search bar filters it out for you, amongst all the other open application screens.

This micro-addition decreases the amount of time it takes to find an app screen while reducing the cognitive load on the user 😄

We hope in its run to create the future and introduce AI, Zoom can make this tiny change and give us a future of smoother screen-sharing experience ✌️

One thing at a time (OTAT)

Think of ‘one thing at a time’ as a bite-sized modification to a platform, to heighten the user experience. We at Sparklin shall sincerely try to share OTAT one Thursday a fortnight.

There will not be a major change to the platforms but possibly a single element that can be introduced, changed, moved or altered, to improve the overall UX.

We keep updating this post with all the OTATs as they go live.

P.S. You might also want to check the UX tips we share every Tuesday.