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, 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:


  2. Wow. Ahead seems to rock. Love that hi res images fade in. I especially like this presentation made by a lamp designer:

  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

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