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).
- 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
- 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?