Sometimes observers and moderators report to us that they cannot see the participant video in a live session. All they see is the chat window and any activity going on in that window.
Instead of getting a video and screen feed from the participant, however, they get either a almost black screen, with only some small boxes visible...
... or a text over black screen saying either "Looking for participant" or "Lost connection to server, reconnecting..."
This happens because the machine you are observing or moderating from is overwhelmed by information streams and can't handle it. This, in turn, can be caused by the machine being old/weak, is running too many programs at the same time, the internet connection being insufficient, or a combination of these issues.
What can you do about it?
- Stop all unnecessary programs before starting or joining a session (i.e, basically keep chrome open with just one tab). Task manager on Windows and Activity Monitor on MacOS can tell you how stressed your CPU is, and which apps are using that CPU.
- Make sure you are on strong wifi, or, preferably, connect via ethernet cable. Be mindful that bandwidth is often asymmetric up/down, and that a good internet connection is about more than just speeds.
- If none of this works and your machine seems to be new/strong, check to see if your IT-dept has set up any firewalls that may mess with the connection. You can contact Lookback support for further info about firewalls and we can talk to your IT-dept about it.
What is Lookback doing about it?
Our goal is to free research from the lab and to make it accessible to as many people as possible. Therefore, we are constantly working on making sure weaker machines and weaker internet connections can handle the service and deliver a consistent and reliable experience for moderators and observers.
We have several things in the pipeline that will further lower the risk of our users running into the issue at hand, but until they are out, please follow the instructions above.