Prezi Presentation Tool

At first I thought I had finally found presentation nirvana.  Prezi is a relatively new entrant to the presentation tools market.  Their interface is revolutionary.  Rather than create my own elevator overview, here is one from Jay Ball,

In a nutshell, Prezi is a Flash-based presentation system that allows users to create incredibly dynamic presentations. Presentations where you can zoom in and out across a large area (no slides), create motion paths, embed images and video and do things that previously needed a pretty competent Flash developer and a whole chunk of time. It kicks traditional slideware way into touch.

I like to play with tools a bit before I lock in my initial opinion so play I did.  It was fairly quick to figure out how to use the completely novel admin interface.

Up to this weekend, I spent my whole career working out ways to present ideas in a clear linear fashion with sections, slides, pictures, bullets, and sub-bullets, tieing together my ideas, questions, and calls to action.  Now with Prezi, all of a sudden I am faced with a completely blank canvas and some tools to populate and navigate that canvas.  Of course, I could put up a series of slides, but that would defeat the purpose.  I was hungry for the full experience.

I used my December MPI online column as a test subject for building a presentation and learned a great deal about both the tool and myself in the process. (Note: can’t include prezi draft here because I am contractually bound to release my columns on MPI before they are shown elsewhere.  Once it is published, I will embed the prezi here).

The Good:

  • Forces you to think about the relationship between the ideas you intend to present
  • Very flexible in what/how you can present.  Good with both pre-planned paths, on-the-fly path changes, and even a combination of both
  • End product presentation is sure to have WAY more of an impact than powerpoint or keynote

The Bad:

  • Challenging learning curve to think differently
  • New interface takes a little while to learn and even longer to become proficient
  • Limited functionality
    • very little text manipulation: no fonts, no colors
    • line tools are very limited
    • no shape tools
  • Takes a LONG time to get presentation set-up exactly the way you want it.
  • Admin frames that help with zooming are displayed to the end user and so confuse the interface

The Bottom Line:

  • Just practicing with Prezi will improve the way you use your current presentation tool
  • Best for presentations where
    • spending significantly more time is a good trade-off in return for more impact
    • you are going to continuously re-use the same presentation with minor changes
  • Needs a bit more work in order to have a good chance at mainstream adoption

Have you tried it?  What do you think?

6 responses to “Prezi Presentation Tool

  1. Most of the shortcomings you mention is possible in the Prezi competitor http://www.ahead.com, and they offer 3GB storage for free as long as they’re in beta. Much better than Prezi’s 100MB. The only downside I have with Ahead for traditonal presentations is that it doesn’t run offline yet. But to me I don’t have a problem with that.

    Here are a few example presentations from their web site:

    Susturb: http://ahead.com/dANQ4r6SnfdB-JUqq8xGwZ/a1Jt1Ysfzjwyg9hy6SMTO1
    Metamorfose: http://ahead.com/bYPYKjyrjlOBNLYtddXGC9/bbUhyFejrpszkcBPKhEoUM
    Cubicstan: http://ahead.com/bZNkHfCw0d9ixJpLs-a3Fz/dCtOUUwmjf-lfkxuRUSElm

  2. Wow. Ahead seems to rock. Love that hi res images fade in. I especially like this presentation made by a lamp designer:
    Moisin: http://ahead.com/c49LnIM_vjj58QM6oRmWzk/dv-wk-BVDhiBzqpITNTc_y

  3. @Joe, Thx so much for your comments. I will play with Ahead next. These things can suck up time though if you are trying to build a real presentation.

    No offline access is definitely a concern though. Seems to be too high risk as a point of failure for an important presentation.

  4. Pingback: What is learning « KM for me… and you?

  5. Pingback: What is learning? | Learning for Change

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s