In Gather, you can see and hear the people around you when you walk up to them thanks to spatial audio and video.
For large group conversations or private meetings, you can create Private Areas. Everyone in the Private Area will be able to see and hear each other, and anyone outside of the Private Area will not.
How Private Areas Work
When you enter a Private Area, the map surrounding it darkens. This will help you know who's in the Private Area with you (and can see and hear you) and who's not.
In the Participants Panel on the right, you'll also see a list of everyone in the Private Area with you. Next to the name of the area, you will see several options.
Locking a Private Area
If you are having a private meeting, locking the Private Area will prevent other users from walking into it and disturbing you.
To lock a Private Area, click the lock icon. If new users try to enter, you'll see a prompt on your screen to either admit or deny them access.
You must be an Admin, Mapmaker, or Member in the space to lock Private Areas. Guests do not have permission to lock a meeting area.
Linking to Private Areas
To copy a link to the area you’re in, click the linked rings icon. You can share this link with someone to bring them directly to the Private Area you're in.
Renaming Private Areas
If you are an Admin or Mapmaker in the space, you'll also see a pencil icon that will allow you to rename the meeting area you’re in currently. These changes will also reflect in the Mapmaker.
How To Add a Private Area
In order to add a Private Area to your space, you'll need Admin or Mapmaker permissions. Click here to read more about user roles.
To add a new Private Area to your space, open up the Mapmaker.
Select Tile Effects in the top navigation menu. Then in the Tile Effects panel, select Private Area.
Then, if it is not already active, select Stamp in the Left Navigation Menu.
All Private Area Tiles on your map are highlighted in pink, and you'll see the Name of the area overtop.
When you add a new Private Area, you can set:
- Name. This should be unique and descriptive so you know what area it's referencing.
- Max Occupancy. Adding a number here will make your Private Area "bookable" when scheduling meetings. If you don't want members of your team to book meetings in this space, leave this option blank.
- Desk Area. This toggle determines if your Private Area should be claimable as a personal desk. If yes, toggle it on. If no, keep it toggled off. Click here for a full guide about adding or removing desks.
Once you've entered a Name, click the tiles on the map that you want to turn into your Private Area. In this example, we are making the lunch table private and using the Name "Lunch Table."
If you accidentally place a tile in the wrong spot, you can use the Erase Tool from the left sidebar to delete it.
When you are finished adding or editing your Private Area, select Save in the Top Navigation Menu.
When you go back to your space, you'll be able to walk into your new Private Area!
For advanced users: Private Area Tiles with the same Name do not have to be directly adjacent. You can use this to create complex spaces for team-building, such as escape rooms, obstacles, or "Easter Eggs" in your office.
Private Area Best Practices
✔ Provide different sizes. This will help you accommodate a variety of meetings and conversations in your office. Consider the size of one-on-ones, standups, team meetings, cross-team coworking, All Hands, etc.
✔ Create clear visual cues with objects. For example, maybe open coworking takes places over couches while formal meetings are held in conference rooms or at tables.
✔ Add them in large meeting areas. If you've got an All-Hands room or an auditorium, create private areas by grouping rows of chairs or furniture together. This will enable natural side conversations, just like you have in face-to-face meetings.
✖ Make them difficult to see. For example, it wouldn't make sense and it would be hard to identify a Private Area placed in the middle of a hallway.
✖ Place separate Private Areas side by side. Make sure there are natural hallways, paths, or furniture to give people space to leave or enter the area without interrupting someone else's conversation.
✖ Make them giant. When you're in a private area, you connect to the audio and video of everyone in that area. If you have a giant private area with a lot of people in it, your machine may struggle to connect to that many feeds.