Playing with #Prezi

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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…

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One thought on “Playing with #Prezi

  1. I stand corrected – playing a little more, I discovered a simple but useful function called “Frame” which removes #1 and #2. Maybe I need a little more time….

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