Multi-Platform Options: Large Group Gatherings Consider the User Experience

Part of Multi-Platform Resources: A Guidebook

Rev. John Crestwell at the GA 2012 Sunday Worship Service.

Before your congregational leadership makes technical decisions about equipment, staff, budget and volunteer needs for large-group multi-platform programming, it may be helpful to think about the different needs of both the online and in-person participant.

(This resource is “in beta.” We hope it helps you think about the array of multi-platform options and their nuances. We will add specifics as we learn more.)

What to Consider for Large Groups

Worship, Concerts, Theater, Poetry Readings, Etc

Technology for the Online Participant Experience

  • Excellent internet bandwidth
  • Good lighting
    • People on camera need to be seen. Darker skin tones need different lighting than lighter skin tones. Help everyone on camera look their best!
    • Avoid lit windows or bright lights in the background. You may need to add ambient light behind the speaker to give depth to the space.
  • Good cameras
    • If your budget allows, invest in high-resolution video cameras.
  • Use a microphone for all speakers. Lapel mics are inexpensive and effective.
    • If you are outside, you will want to have a foam or fur cover on the microphone to reduce wind noise.
  • Use a captioning service to improve accessibility.
  • Offer a way to give online during the offering (text-to-give or a link to a donation page.)
  • Have a well-trained technology team.

Hospitality for the Online Participant Experience

  • Have online ushers/greeters paying attention to what is happening online (monitoring the chat window, etc.)
  • Provide an order of service or slide deck to guide participants through the elements of the service.
  • Offer opportunities to interact via the chat function, in breakout rooms, or in other creative ways.
  • When doing something interactive, be sure to include online participants by reading aloud their contributions to the discussion in real time.

Considerations for the In-Person Participant Experience

  • Follow safety protocols.
  • Amplify and use a microphone for all speakers. Lapel mics are inexpensive and effective.
  • Offer listening assistance, such as headphones or a hearing loop.
  • Keep the cameras and lighting from being too distracting.
  • Install a screen or two in the sanctuary and share the same visuals that are seen online.
    • You may want to install screens in other part of the church building (fellowship hall, nursery) for overflow.
  • Provide large-print orders of service and hymnals as needed.