Powerpoint Killer: Prezi?

Written By John Sonmez

As a developer who is often a technology evangelist, I am often doing presentations.  Typically I will throw together some boring Powerpoint slides and try to get through them before people fall asleep.  It is not that I am a boring speaker.  I like to think I am a pretty decent speaker.

It's a little thing I like to call “Powerpoint hypnosis.”

It seems that our bodies have been subconsciously trained to go into a deep sleep whenever we see Powerpoints up on a projector.  It probably stems from an overexposure to boring Powerpoint slides, which has got us trained like Pavlov's dog to instantly sleep when we see a slide.  I am sure the number of ADHD programmers in the world also has some part in the effect.

Waking up from the coma: Prezi

I think I may have found a cure for Powerpoint hypnosis.  I found this nice, little, mostly free, web presentation product called Prezi.  I am going to be speaking at the Boise Code Camp on March 27-28 on “Internal DSLs for Automated Functional Testing” and “Pair Programming: How To and Demonstration.”  I am going to try Prezi on the paired programming session and see how it works out.

I actually found the tool very easy to learn and work with.  Although it has a few quirks, and there are some things I wish I could do with it, it may become my new presentation tool of choice.

Prezi allows you to create a lively presentation in which you can zoom in and zoom out to different parts of your presentation landscape.  It also allows for the embedding of .swf files which can provide additional animation.  I really like how it allows freedom to put ideas anywhere on the page and then fill in details and connect them together in whatever order you want.

It is web based, but also has a downloadable version of the presentation and the editor.  You can also easily embed it in a blog or webpage.  Which of course I cannot do, because I am on wordpress.com.  I really need to move to self-hosted wordpress.org.  Anyway, this is a very good tool that can help you give presentations that are more lively and “out of the box.”  I highly recommend giving it a shot.