Along with many others, I have been on a steep learning curve. Houseparty, Zoom, Google whateveritscalled, Microsoft Teams, I’ve battled through them all.

Pre-pandemic, there was no need for these things. Be honest, who wants a video conference with Compliance?

Just now, I was on a Zoom call, setup by MLROs.com, so the closest thing to a safe space for us inhabitants of compliance departments. We were all there to listen to an update, so I took the precaution of getting myself setup nice and early. There was no need for my camera to be on, nor for my microphone. Should I need to ask anything, there is a chat dialogue.

Instantly, this removed many of the hassles of the video call. I didn’t need to shave, or wear a shirt. Lighting at the desk? Who cares? Should I be interrupted; the door bell, the phone, the dog, or even my beloved wife, no worries.

There were several other people on the call, less-prepared. I’m not being mean. My overriding feeling when somebody answered their phone, allowing all 120 of us to hear, was pure relief. Relief that it wasn’t me. Shout out to the guy whose colleague was recently returned from Cornwall too.

Zoom has made some odd interface choices.

The poor person answering the phone was doing so, because she had set herself on mute. Minutes earlier, she was probably looking at her notes, when the meeting organiser unmuted everyone. Why the organiser is given this God-like power is beyond me. A dialogue box appears briefly, asking whether I wanted to overrule the organiser (you’ve never seen a Compliance Geek move as fast as I did, to re-mute myself).

Surely the default mode should be to present the user with big fat choice buttons for the camera and the microphone? Make those dialogues persistent until a choice has been made. Surely the mute on/off toggle should be prominent and ever-present? By all means, allow the user to dismiss this “obvious mode”, once familiar with the tech, but for everybody’s sake make the default easier. And…whoever came up with the idea that someone else can unmute my microphone - get ye back to Facebook or wherever you learned that nonsense.

The talk itself was excellent. Props to the presenter who rode the interruptions elegantly and was interesting and engaging throughout. The woman’s name is Emma Radmore. Fantastic job.

However - my favourite element of the whole thing is the name of the firm Emma works for.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you…

Womble Bond Dickinson.

I’m unreasonably tickled by the cadence of that name. I hope that one day, I might utter the words..

“My lawyers will be in touch. Expect a call from WombleBondDickinson”