Presentation Pop – A Preliminary Review of Prezi

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything “technical”, so I thought I’d share my preliminary experience with the cloud-based presentation software known as Prezi.

Let me begin by telling you that I am a PowerPoint gal from way back and I’m not ashamed to say that I can put together some pretty nifty presentations in that environment.  However, by combining a whiteboard setting with a slide show presentation and adding an interactive feel through zooming, Prezi takes PowerPoint to a whole new level…literally.  I had more fun using Prezi (yes, I did say “fun”) to put together a little test presentation than I ever have in PowerPoint (PPT from here on).

You can start by importing an existing PPT presentation, choosing a template, or with a blank whiteboard.  From there, the sky is the limit.  You can place content wherever you want it to be.  You can easily crop photos.  You can drag content anywhere.  You can delete frames (slides) without deleting their content.  All these options plus more and then that sexy zooming from frame A to frame B and so on make this medium a pleasure to become immersed in.  Once you’re complete, you can download a fully functional copy to your desktop so you won’t need to sweat your internet connection come presentation time.  Outstanding.

Pricing depends on the type of license you purchase.  Since I’m still investigating, I chose the free option which affords 100MB of storage space in their cloud, public access to my presentations (or prezis), and the core features (edit, share) necessary to collaborate and create a prezi.  Their other packages are reasonably priced in my opinion – Enjoy package is $59/yr and the Pro package is $159/yr.  The difference between the two is the amount of storage space and the ability to create prezis offline.  The difference between free and not free is in storage space, tech support, branding, and privacy.

There is, of course, an app for this – both for iPad and iPhone.  I’m going to play around with those next.

The remote collaboration features are really quite wonderful.  Up to 10 people can actively edit a prezi at the same time, unlimited remote viewing, and it allows moderators to co-present – handing off presentation lead from one to another virtually.  I’ve not tested these features, but I am looking forward to doing so.

A word of caution!  You may be tempted to go overboard with the zooming, but please try to resist the urge to make everything a frame.  As their tutorial explains, too much zooming can cause dizziness and make your audience uncomfortable…much the same as excessive effects do in PPT.  Use layers and groups to ease transitions and evoke a visual map feel rather than an off-road excursion.

Let me know your thoughts, please.  I also take requests if there’s something out there you’ve wanted to look into but haven’t gotten to or have been too intimidated to try.