Join.Me’s Whiteboard for iPad

Graphically record web meetings from anywhere, right on your iPad or tablet.

Screenshot of Join.Me's whiteboard

A quickly captured whiteboard

Join.Me is a web conferencing tool available for desktop computers and mobile devices. Its iPad app includes a whiteboard. This review focuses on the whiteboard feature of the iPad app. (The Android app allows screen sharing of other apps but does not appear to have a built-in whiteboard tool.) A general review of Join.Me is also posted.

With the whiteboard, users can draw, write, create shapes, and import images from Join.Me’s easily-accessible library or from their own iPad photo library. The whiteboard is sharable so others can watch whether they are joining the meeting from a desktop, a laptop, an iPad, or another mobile device. Other kinds of documents can also be imported, shared, and annotated.

It’s straightforward to start and host a meeting from Join.Me’s iPad app. With the addition of the whiteboard, it can also be graphically recorded without needing to mirror the screen to a computer. Note that the presenter has to initiate the meeting from the iPad in order to use the whiteboard: a participant who joins from the iPad cannot be given presenter status.

Scenario / Use Case

A designer can bring up a sketch in the whiteboard and invite clients or stakeholders to a review meeting. While participants talk about the design, the designer can annotate the drawings, save the annotated sketches, send them out after the meeting as summary, and use them as a reference in the next round of revisions.

A graphic recorder can initiate a virtual meeting and use the whiteboard to capture the discussion so everyone can see it. The recorder can use a blank canvas, import templates to work within, or combine both approaches in one document. After the meeting the notes can be saved and distributed to all participants. Because the iPad is so portable, the graphic recorder has the flexibility to host and capture virtual meetings from anywhere.

A design team can work together from distributed locations if one member initiates the meeting from an iPad and sketches while the group discusses ideas.

Pros

  • With the infinite canvas, presenters can just keep sliding their work to the side and adding more. Viewers can pan and zoom independently of the presenter, so they can go back and check details anytime they need to.
  • The zoom allows detailed drawing and writing. A framing button jumps quickly back to full-size.
  • Drawings are objects and can be grouped, resized, dragged, removed, recolored, and so on. Presenters can pull a sticky note out of the Join.Me library, write on it, and then move and resize the whole note.
  • The app includes rudimentary layers, allowing presenters to move objects in front of or behind other objects.
  • The sketch library provided with the app is convenient. Presenters can also bring in their own art and create a personal library of imagery to use over and over. It’s easy to drop items into the whiteboard from the library.
  • Whiteboards can be saved in a native Join.Me format and sent to someone else, who can then load it into their copy of Join.Me and continue to work on it.

Cons

  • The zoom isn’t as smooth as I would like and it takes a couple tries to zoom out sometimes.
  • The whiteboard is not collaborative and only one person can work on it at once (all others are view-only).
  • If the meeting presenter passes the presenter role to someone else, the whiteboard stays with the original owner (and disappears from the screen when the second presenter shares something else).
  • Like any other iPad graphic recording tool, it is slower than marker & paper recording. Graphic facilitation (running the meeting while also recording it) would be difficult.
  • Whiteboards cannot be created and shared from the desktop version of Join.Me. Since it is always possible to use any other drawing application and share the screen from a computer, this is not a big deal unless you need to work on an existing whiteboard. The workaround is to open a PDF or JPG version of the original whiteboard in your preferred app and go from there, though you will lose the layers and ability to work with drawing elements as objects.

Groups It’s Good For

  • Distributed teams who want graphic recording or document annotation
  • Designers who need to share and markup sketches and mock-ups

Cost & Access Information

The Join.Me app is available free on Apple’s app store, from Amazon, and in Google Play. To host meetings, a Join.Me account is also required (no account is required to join meetings). Join.Me offers a free account for up to 10 participants, and pro and enterprise level memberships for hosting larger groups.

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