Who needs PowerPoint? Try Prezi instead

Well to be honest I do… but thanks to Eileen Brown I’ve now discovered a pretty decent alternative in Prezi.  As part of my job I often have to put together presentations for various strategies or projects.  I’m always quite conscious that traditional built pointed PowerPoints are liable to bore people to tears, so anything that can help liven things up a little has to be good. 

So what is Prezi then?  Well it’s an online presentation tool, but the difference is in how you build up those presentations and what they look like when played back.  Rather than write a long (probably inadequate!) explanation they’ve got a decent intro video:

So as you can see it’s a bit different from the normal PowerPoint type app :)

I guess the closest I’ve seen has been Microsoft’s Office Labs pptPlex which is a free add-in that provides similar functionality inside of Powerpoint.   Prezi is just more like a ‘Deepzoom’ sort of experience – which is odd given Deepzoom is an MS technology.

Having played with it a little today, I reckon Prezi is a good little tool.  It makes it much easier to tell a story in your presentations, and hopefully keep people engaged in what you’re saying.

The ability to embed external media like images and videos is well implemented and very useful.  Indeed, I’ve not tried it but I think you can even embed normal slides from slide share – though I’m not sure why you’d want to!

Prezi has three options for getting access to it.  You can sign up for free, but you only get 100MB of storage and all your presentations are public and branded with a Prezi watermark.

There are then two costed options, ‘Enjoy’ at $59 a year and ‘Pro’ at $159 a year.  Both have the option to make presentations private, and have the watermark removed.  ‘Enjoy’ has 500MB of storage, and ‘Pro’ 2GB and a Desktop editor so you can create and view presentations offline.

The free versions inability to save a presentation privately is – in my view – not very user friendly.  I can see why they’ve done it to drive sales of the costed options, but even so you’d have to careful what you post up, especially if they’re work/business presentations.

Personally I feel that the costed options are a little too expensive.  As good as it is, I’m not sure that it’s worth that much or that the offline app would be worth a $100 premium. 

It’s a balance really of whether you feel that the impact Prezi can potentially give your presentations is worth the cost.  I think it has real potential, but there are a few niggles that it would be worth them looking at.

  • – The saved presentations are pretty big – a basic demo I did with two paragraphs came down as a 20MB zip file!
  • – As Prezi is a Flash app, right-clicking on it just brings up the normal Flash menu, not much they can do about that, but there are some tasks where right-clicking would improve the navigation.  And of course it won’t work on an iPad, where the interface would seem to really suit it!
  • – There are only a couple of styles provided, and whilst you can pay $450 for a custom one, the ability to change fonts and colours etc would seem to be a pretty basic feature people would expect.

Like I say, I really like Prezi, you can create some really striking presentations in it.  Will I buy it?  Probably not… With information security such a big factor in business these days I don’t think I could save presentations online without knowing more about their security model etc, and $159 a year is too expensive for a version that would give me the ability to work offline and keep the presentations within the companies control.  Still it’s a very nice little app!

One Comment

  • 1 Smithereen

    Posted Jun 9, 2010 at 10:37 pm
    Permalink

    http://www.ahead.com is quite similar, but with true deepzoom capability where you can add really hi res images. Quite a few students at our art & design school use Ahead as portfolios and presentations.

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