Jan 25, 2009
In my work as a design strategist I rely, as do many of you, on presentations to deliver our research findings. More often that not we (the company work for) present using PowerPoint. Not good. From a design perspective it’s just so inaccurate and inflexible that I often find myself swearing in frustration trying to give the damn presentation some polish.
Of course, there’s the Apple alternative, Keynote, which has just been updated as part of iWork ’09. Loaded with typical Apple attention to detail and flair, it’s almost impossible to make a bad looking presentation with Keynote. The included templates even subtly encourage you to keep your text to a minimum and focus on visual impact. Alas, I’m the only Mac user in the office so Keynote is relegated to my personal projects most of the time.
There are times, however, when even Keynote can’t satisfy me. The concept of using slides as a presentation tool is as old as projection technology itself and there hasn’t seen any kind of major development apart from the supplanting of the slides and transparencies with lcd/dlp projectors and the aforementioned software.
The problem is that a lot of the work we present is based on related but non-linear data sources. However, because of the tyranny of the slide paradigm, the information has to be presented in a linear way. Sure, we’re all used to it and we can make cognitive allowances for it but what if we didn’t have to? What if the presentation software we used allowed us to show relationships between data but not in a strictly linear fashion?
Prezi.com is a cloud-based (read: you work on it over the internet, not from a local copy on your hard drive) zooming presentation app hat allows you to lay out your presentation in a free-form fashion and structure it based on the flow that makes sense to you and your audience. It’s also easy to create a text-heavy presentation (normally a big NO NO) that can be used as a reference tool for your audience after you’ve left but keep the live presentation focused on key points.
At last, a paradigm shift that should elevate us from PowerPoint hell! Hop on over to the website to see some cool demos.