Learning from gamers to improve the Show and Tell experience

We’re currently working on a project with the Crown Commercial Service to build a new digital service for gathering management information from suppliers who do business through government frameworks.

At the end of every sprint, we hold a Show & Tell session to report back on our findings and receive feedback. We invite stakeholders from across CCS and the wider public sector to join us, but with the teams spread throughout the country, it’s difficult to get everyone in the same room.

We wanted to ensure that as many people as possible are able to view the Show & Tell live, and also provide an archive that can be watched later for those unable to attend.

I eventually settled on a tool that is more often used by online gamers who broadcast their sessions to services such as Twitch and YouTube, Open Broadcaster Software (OBS). It’s free, open-source and available for MacOS, Windows and Linux, making it an obvious choice.

OBS allows you to combine multiple sources into one stream (e.g. webcam + Google Slides presentation)

This tool allows you to stream live video from any laptop and combine it with screen capture, graphics etc. These can be arranged into multiple ‘scenes’ – combinations of webcam input, screen capture, pre-recorded videos, images, music etc, which can be switched between at will.

This, coupled with a good quality HD webcam and microphone, we were able to produce a YouTube stream that can be viewed live and after the fact.

Additionally, questions could be fielded from both the attendees in the room as well as those viewing remotely (in our case using a Google Hangout and Slack), which maintained the open dialogue nature of the session.

We’ve already run a couple of successful Show & Tells using this method, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Our last session had 16 concurrent live streams (each of which could be an individual or group of people watching together).