I love Prezi, and I am not ashamed.
Note: nobody paid me to love Prezi. I tried it, I loved it, and I’ve used it again and again …
Prezi has been around since 2009. It’s an easy-to-use cloud-based editor (you can download presentations to present offline) that really changed the way I think about presentations and how the medium of story-telling can affect the impact of one’s work.
Prezi is a powerful collaborative tool.
I’ve used Prezi for team-based projects in several courses now, and while the occasional technical glitch (e.g., disappearing edits) did arise, collaboratively designing diagrams, mind-maps and developing the navigation of the presentation itself turned out to be an incredibly rewarding process.
Below, I’ve embedded a presentation I worked on this summer with my colleagues Antonia and Diane for a consulting course (IDEA Aircraft cleaning attendants TNA for Airflow Airways on Prezi, Version 1). For this assignment, we pitched our skills as a consulting team to a fictional airline seeking a training solution to improve cleaning staff performance.
I’m incredibly proud of how that project turned out, and I think that the Prezi itself presents the best evidence of our team cohesion. We each contributed our own expertise in terms of content, but created the visual design for the presentation collaboratively. In doing so, we gained an in-depth understanding of each others’ contributions, and found ways to illustrate our argument that tied all of our work together in an attractive, impactful package.
As my colleague Stefan pointed out on his blog, the canvas+camera movement mechanic of navigation encourages the designed to consider the use of potential powerful visual & kinetic metaphors. If you step through the presentation, you’ll see that first presented ourselves and our philosophy as a company, set out the context for the problem we’d set out to solve, our analyses, and our proposed solutions. You can see that the logic of our persuasive argument is realized in the visual design we developed.
That presentation also illustrates one of other attributes I love about Prezi …
Prezi’s canvas encourages non-linear story-telling.
Below, I’ve embedded an alternative version of the presentation, IDEA Aircraft cleaning attendants TNA for Airflow Airways on Prezi, Version 2. In fact, this is the one we ended up using for our final pitch. If you step through both presentations you’ll see that for the ‘big show’, we essentially presented our case in reverse. We chose to do this for a number of reasons; the first was that we’d timed our presentation and decided that the best use of our limited pitch time (10 minutes), we’d be better off presenting the meat first.
IDEA Aircraft cleaning attendants TNA for Airflow Airways on Prezi, Version 2
Metaphor, metaphor, metaphor …
Prezi recently added fade-in animation and 3-D background for presentations. Fade-in animation is a communicative mechanic familiar to PowerPoint users; it allows you to break up content into digestible bits, but show the ‘big picture’ in the end.
3-D backgrounds are something new entirely, and I had a lot of fun learning how to use it. Essentially, rather than working with a single canvas, you can work with 3 layers of canvas. This adds depth to the visual you create, such that different zoom levels can be tied to, for example, different levels of analysis. I made use of both fade-in animation and 3D backgrounds in the presentation Taking Care of Business that I’ve embedded below.
Taking Care of Business (Biech Chapter 4) on Prezi
I think there are definitely situations in which the tone and format of a traditional PowerPoint presentation may be more appropriate than a Prezi. I think that certain audiences have expectations about how a presentation should look and flow, and one should take care only to push back on those expectations when it will increase the impact of your message. Excessive zooming and animation may be distracting for audience and presenter alike, especially if something unexpected occurs during a presentation. With those caveats, I think Prezi has great potential, and I certainly have had lots of fun using it. Try it, you might like it!
Prezi – The Zooming Presentation Editor