As web applications are becoming ever larger, more complex and thus more demanding for their users, there is a growing need for customer support. Very often, it is provided by support centers via phone. However, the media break between browser and phone hampers the common understanding of user and consultant. As a result, support becomes ineffective and expensive, and users get frustrated. Screen sharing solutions are one possible solution for this problem, but they have major disadvantages like high bandwidth requirements, slow performance and, most importantly, the need for a client-side installation. These drawbacks are addressed by VCS, a concept and system for “instant co-browsing”, that runs directly within the user’s browser. It equally allows all participants of a support session to see and navigate the same web page on their screens, being aware of what the other person is currently doing on the page. People can directly interact with each other, jointly complete tasks and solve. The event-based nature of the synchronization approach to be presented further facilitates adaptation, so that users with heterogeneous end devices may collaborate. In this chapter, we present VCS and also discuss the special challenges that this approach entails.
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