One Picture, Many Paths: a new tool for prez-entations
The Big Picture
Prezi is the kind of presentation app that could possibly make you excited about public speaking. It’s based on a shared understanding with your audience of a “big picture” and the ability to smoothly drill down and focus on details as needed, without ever losing sight of the top-line messages.
Instead of a PowerPoint deck with a series of linear, chronological slides, Prezi is essentially a giant picture. At different points, you can zoom in and zoom out and zig zag your way throughout this giant picture. The “presentation” itself is really a map, a pathway, you create through the picture.
The fluid motions as you transition from one cluster of ideas to the next makes the presentation more.. smoothly cinematic than, say, a typical series of PowerPoint animations.
This would be an awesome way to break down those large infographics that GOOD Magazine just posted to Flickr! (See their Transparencies archive.)
As you create text and images, you manipulate everything by a series of spinning discs in the top left hand corner. You basically judge a lot of things by sight, and by rotating a circle, instead of messing with numerical values. Kind of like using a mouse trackball to make things bigger and smaller.
For example, when you are typing text, there are no font sizes to choose from — only the zebra rotator tool that lets you inflate and deflate the scale, visually.
(Tangent: this use of manipulating data “by sight” reminds me of some innovative market research questionnaires I’ve seen that use visual metaphors instead of numerical values. For example, instead of asking you to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how satisfied or dissatisfied you are, it allows you — via an animated illustration — to pour liquid into a tank until it reaches a level in the container that you feel represents your level of dis/satisfaction. At the least, it makes for a fun, game-like experience while slogging through a survey.)
I can’t wait to use Prezi for… something. Hot Pot??
Please comment if you have used this tool before, and would like to share the results. (Or if you thought the narrator in the video tutorials had an amusingly familiar accent. I guessed Armenian. The company appears to be based in Budapest, but I can’t confirm.)
See a sample Prezi showcase here. Where’s your masterpiece?