For many years there had been nothing to challenge the domination of PowerPoint as the leading tool to assist presentations. This is no longer the case because of the introduction of a web-based application called Prezi.
Prezi’s now been around for a few years and its popularity is growing, so much so that it is widely regarded as a true and viable alternative to the Microsoft product.
The first time I witnessed a Prezi presentation, I admit, I was blown away. The movement around the screen and the zooming in and out was amazing.
Now, having sat through a multitude of them, the novelty has worn off and the initial excitement of the product has waned slightly.
I have also watched some amazing PowerPoint presentations, but don’t get me wrong, I have sat through squillions of others that have left me bored to tears with the “same old … same old”. I’m sure you know what I mean.
So, on first impressions, the honours go to Prezi but how do the two products compare apart from that?
Prezi is a web-based presentation application which means, after signing up for a free account, you can access your ‘Prezis’ anytime and anywhere (as long as you have access to the Internet). You can sign up for Prezi by clicking >>here<<.
NOTE: There are different price bands and I have only used the free version.
Once opened, Prezi uses a virtual canvas instead of slides. It is a bit like a mindmap in terms of construction and you can rotate and zoom through your content very easily.
Blank Prezi screen shown right.
Some of the good points of Prezi are:
- it’s different
- the transitions are really smooth
- it works well with YouTube videos
Some of the not so good points are:
- large files when downloaded
- limited fonts and colour schemes
- novelty soon wears off
For those of you who are not familiar with PowerPoint (and where have you been for the last 25 years), it has been the de facto standard for presentation tools for a long time. It is produced by Microsoft and is part of the Microsoft Office suite.
It uses a slideshow format and you go from slide to slide in a linear manner.
It is pretty easy to use but, judging by the amount of lousy PowerPoint presentations out there, quite difficult to master.
Blank PowerPoint 2010 screen shown right.
PowerPoint’s good points:
- greater variety of transitions
- unlimited fonts and colours (good for branding)
- good consistency between slides
And the bad:
- very rigid in structure
- too much choice (if abused)
- familiarity (it breeds contempt, don’t you know)
Both these products are great at what they do. Prezi has a lot of followers who scoff at presenters that still use PowerPoint but, I believe, it is down to the individual and how innovative they can be with whichever of the products they choose.
Prezi is here to stay, but whether it overtakes PowerPoint as the number one in it’s current format, I am not so sure.
It should be remembered that, irrespective of the product you use, it is only a tool designed to augment the presentation. It is NOT the star of the show.
I know I will continue to use both products depending upon the type of presentation I am giving at the time.
VERDICT: A definite draw.