I recently told you about Prezi, a web-based tool that enables you to arrange and present your ideas in a highly visual, compelling format.I recently created my first prezi, a promotion for the Mind Mapping Insider membership program:
In the process of creating this presentation, I learned a number of things about Prezi, both pro and con:
I laid out my main points in linear order in Notepad, and then used them as a guide to create a corresponding hierarchy of objects in the workspace. It was easy to add all of my text, arrange it how I wanted and then add images to it. It couldn’t be any simpler. Even the confusing looking “transformation zebra” – a set of striped, concentric circles that are used to control the rotation and size of objects in Prezi, turned out to be delightfully easy to use.
In general, Prezi was easy to use and intuitive to figure out. This is one of those apps you can just begin to use and figure it out as you go. For example, I learned how to re-order the path for your animated presentation just by playing around with Prezi. Turns out that in the middle of each path segment, there’s a circle that you can drag to an object to create a new node in your presentation. Another example: If you have created a frame around several objects, you can drag the path node to the border of the object; Prezi automatically centers the viewfinder on the frame and its contents.
Prezi sometimes acted flaky. There’s a set of interlocking circles that float in the upper left corner of the workspace when you’re creating a prezi, which functions as the application’s toolbar. Sometimes this disappeared and I couldn’t figure out how to make it come back. So I’d have to log out and then log back in.
Text is only available in one color – black. Prezi does offer a number of templates, which apply a set of background colors, fonts and text colors to your prezi. That’s probably why you can’t change text color at will – because it would probably mess up these templates.
I discovered I had to be careful about the sizes of images I imported into the Prezi workspace. If they were too small, they appeared to be jaggy in my presentation. Case in point: The black and green logo for the Mind Mapping Insider program. I had to eliminate it, because I didn’t have the time to create a larger version.
I tried to create a list of 7 or 8 items, and then have Prezi zoom in on each one successfully – a technique that I had seen used in some other prezis. This took some effort, between sizing and positioning items properly, but it looked cool. Unfortunately, after I worked with this “zoom list” for a while, I got an error message from the application, telling me my file was too large. Apparently, whatever mathematical formulas Prezi uses to calculate the size and position of objects in the workspace didn’t like what I was trying to do. To fix this problem, I made all of the items in the list the same size, and just created a series of quarter-turn rotations to walk the viewer through my prezi. This comes up near the end of it.
So that’s what I learned. Prezi is a fascinating, easy to use tool that has a ton of promise, but is still slightly rough around the edges. If you’re looking for a multimedia tool that’s going to add some pizzazz to your blog or website, you can’t go wrong with Prezi.