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In the last months, Prezi has become very trendy among tools for presentations. I hadn’t tried it and wanted to do so as I had heard so many things that made it very appealing. After my first 24 hours using the tool my perception even positive it´s not so ‘wow’ as I expected.

I have prepared a small presentation on a IT PM related topic, as what is my perspective on Information Technology as a ‘toy problem’. This is the result:

My perspective on Information Technology on Prezi

I have also heard about Impress.js(still in 0.x version) and Grid (for iPad and iPhone) that are probably also worth to spend some time evaluating.

In any case, I don´t think any of them, nor Prezi solve the main limitations that I found:

  • The presentation still needs to be linear, there is no way to change the story based on audience interest, speaker preferences or other factor. In Power Point you could have a bunch of backup slides at the end of your presentation or even have them linked from other slides so that you could go deeper in some points if required.
  • I haven’t found a way to cut and paste from one Prezi to other ( I am using the free version, though), what makes reusing presentations kind of painful if not impossible.
  • If before, people had to be careful about abuse of transition effects now the problem can get worst and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your motion-sickness pill before attending a long presentation.
  • The web interface becomes unresponsive sometimes, not sure if due to my home internet connection or server workload…
  • Being a web tool, I miss being able to embed content from other webs.. I mean html content, only Youtube videos can be embedded.
  • No space for adding notes for the lecturer.

On the positive side, Prezi helps to avoid adding too much text to the presentation, as it doesn’t look like a format where adding a lot of text makes sense. It emphasizes Zen style presentation what its not something to underestimate given the tendency to fill with text tens or hundreds of slides in PPT that has been suffered by many audiences along time. Sometimes it is required a change of environment, tool in this case, to overcome bad habits even when the previous tool could provide the same functionality.

In the process of preparing the former presentation, and others I am still working on, I have found other tools that I think can be very interesting, both of them have been for long available but I just got to know them now:

  • Wordle, allows to create a tag cloud from any document or web url, allowing to change all the style parameters ( font, colors, layout ).
Wordle sample

Wordle sample

  • Tagxedo, is similar to Wordle but in addition allows to shape the tag cloud according to any image provided.

    Tagxedo Sample

    Tagxedo Sample

I hope they are as useful or at least entertaining to you as they have been to me.

And thanks to Panos for his great work and posts.. I have discovered a new dimension to WordPress…