As part of Stitch's response to the COVID-19 crisis, we're working hard on a number of new features designed to help members create and sustain social connections even when you can't meet in person.
This is a huge amount of work which touches on many of the different aspects of Stitch, and will incorporate a range of new features, which we'll be releasing as they come available over the coming weeks and months.
The first of these is Stitch Video Chat for Groups and Activities.
The Stitch Video Chat feature allows attendees at a virtual Stitch Activity, or members of a Stitch Group, to chat to each other in person via live video chat, without needing to install any additional software or get familiar with external video services like Zoom or Google Hangouts.
PLEASE NOTE: This feature is still under development, so we are releasing it as a "Beta" feature so that Stitch members can start using it as quickly as possible. Just please be aware that some aspects of the feature are still limited, and we will be updating it regularly as we get feedback from our members.
KNOWN ISSUES: Please scroll to the bottom of the page for a list of current known issues & limitations.
Stitch Video Chat Overview
Outline that it works on activities and groups. For activities, when the time comes, you'll be shown to join. For groups, the owner of the group needs to open the video chat room so that members of the group can attend.
Video Chat for Virtual Activities
Organizers of activities on Stitch can now create "virtual", or online, activities, for other members to attend using online video. These can be hosted using major third-party video providers such as Zoom, or using Stitch's own Video Chat feature. Check out our article on hosting a virtual activity on Stitch for details on how to set up a virtual event.
If an event host chooses Stitch Video Chat for the event, they don't need to do any other configuration; everything will be handled by Stitch.
Once you register for an event that uses Stitch Video Chat, you'll see something like this in the event details:
The blue button is disabled, indicating that the event has not started yet. Once it is time for the event to start, the button will change to say Join now! as shown below:
Simply select the Join now! button to join the event.
Joining a Stitch Video Chat
Once you select Join, a new window will open which will prompt you to enable your video before you join the chat. It will look something like this:
Your camera and microphone will not work until you grant permission for them to be able to be used. Select the Request permissions button as shown in the image above.
Your browser will prompt you to confirm that you grant permission for your camera and microphone to be used. Each browser will do this slightly differently: some will pop up a message box window, while others will show a prompt in the notifications area of your browser. It may look something like this:
Select Allow to enable access, and then Join meeting.
IMPORTANT: You need to enable your camera and microphone using the above steps, or else you will not be able to participate in the Video Chat.
Video Chat for Groups
In this first version of the video chat feature, Group Video Chat is an extension of the existing "Group Chat" area. Instead of communicating with other members of your group via messages, comments and announcements, however, you get to do so using a video chat.
The Group Video Chat section is just below the Group overview on the group details page, above the Group Chat section:
While the feature is still in Beta, only Group Organizers and co-Organizers can start a video chat for the whole group. All other members of the Group will see this message instead:
Group organizers just need to select the Start a Video Chat button to open a new Video Chat Room, and to invite all members of the Group to the chat.
All members of the group will receive an email notification inviting them to the chat, as well as an app notification on their phone if they have the Stitch app installed.
Once a Video Chat Room is open, members of the group will see this message:
Selecting Join will open a new browser window which contains the Video Chat. Once you have finished your video chat, you will need to close the browser window and return to Stitch.
Additional help articles
Stitch uses a technology called Whereby to provide our video chat capabilities. If you want to know whether your device is supported, or to troubleshoot getting your camera or microphone to work, here are some relevant articles from Whereby:
As mentioned above, Stitch Video Chat is a Beta feature so we are continuing to work on it, and welcome any feedback you have.
Known issues and limitations (as of 7th May 2020)
Current known issues and limitations include:
- Does not work in portrait mode on Android phones; please use in landscape mode instead
- Currently only Group owners or co-organizers can open the chat room for a group. This is a temporary restriction while the feature is in Beta testing only and will be lifted in an upcoming update
- Does not work on old or outdated browser versions (please see the link to "Supported Devices" above)