It’s been a while since I posted anything on this channel, and the simple reason is that I haven’t come across anything I considered really new there. So when I saw a retweet by Robert Scoble about the release of Prezi for the iPad I was immediately hooked and had to test it. The result was something of a letdown, as Prezi and its iPad app failed to enable me to do stuff I couldn’t without it.
After a full evening of testing on a very real presentation I will deliver next week, therefore, here is my
10 suggestions to make Prezi truly outstanding
Add some elementary shape drawing tools – they are useful not only to add as visual elements, but also to group other elements. I hate having to import squares and circles from other apps. Add permanent grouping of objects, it’s there already, but it does not stick e.g. when you want to make a group a stop for your path and have Prezi automatically zoom to fit all the grouped objects in the window.
- Pan, Zoom and Rotate are great, but in a presentation that is more than, say, five slides, they will tire the audience; I appreciate essentiality, but I need more transitions, e.g. a good quality dissolve or fade to black not to mention the fancy ones.
- The bubble menu is a nice trick, but frankly I don’t think it adds anything; it’s not faster, it does not save screen real estate, it’s not more intuitive. It’s a trick, but I don’t have time for tricks that do not give me anyhing in return for my effort to master them.
- Why always move the screen and not objects instead? why can’t I build a bullet slide flying in the different bullets one at the time, maybe combining it with the auto zoom neat-o feature? Or complement a text slide with an image?
- Why tie me to a fixed font set defined in the style set? I like to creatively use fonts, combining contrasting faces to achieve a pleasant effect, and I don’t need to be restrained for fear of creating one of those “all the fonts I have on this machine” horrors.
- Ditto for colors. We are NOT all color blind. In general, do not protect me from my own style mistakes, as this turns into unnecessary limitations to my creativity. If I don’t know what I’m doing, shame on me.
- What is wrong with transparent background in imported objects? It seems really basic, but I wasn’t able to turn it on. Ditto for overlays where I’d like a transparency control dial.
- I must admit I was curious to see how they solved the Flash on iPad issue, and predictably, they didn’t. All the iPad app does is download what looks like a PDF version of the preso which you can flip thru. And gone is the non-linearity of the flow: yes, you can click on another section of the preso, but when you click “next” it will bring you back where you were.
- On the iPad Pan and Rotate, yes, but Zoom no-no-no. Fonts will not scale, neither will objects or images. Aliasing becomes immediately visible, feels so 80s.
- And alignments end up all over the place: carefully positioned objects are not even on the same screen anymore, carriage returns are repositioned for no good reason.
I just realized it’s not 10 but eleven, I guess I felt the pull of the date.
Conclusion? I think Prezi as it stands is a nice curio which I may use to astonish friends on (very) short presentations. Not sure the iPad app will remain here, though.
Maybe the next release…