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Presentation sites, software and strategies

April 4, 2011

Old slide projector (Niikesch CC-BY-NC-ND)

My DESI 436 (Design Collaboration) students are preparing a Peha Kucha presentation on their research topic. Today, we discussed presentation formats, hosting sites, and software. The popular Pencha Kucha 20 slides x 20 seconds format, which was launched in 2003, is explained on the Pecha Kucha website, and there are currently 194 presentations online that you can see. We looked at a talk called  “Architecture in Nature“, which Thomas Sandell gave at the Stockholm event on 2 March this year. Although the information and images are interesting, the quality of the recording is not very good, and we don’t see the presenter. Recordings of face-to-face presentations usually don’t work as well online, because they have been designed for people who were in the room at the time. We also looked at the Ignite website, which promotes a faster 20 x 15 format – 20 slides but only 15 seconds per slide, for a total presentation time of 5 minutes. Many of these have also been recorded and uploaded. O’Reilly Media started this initiative in 2006. We watched one called “The Oatmeal: How to Get 5 Million People to Read Your Website.” This recording had been edited to include image of the presenter as well as the screens, which helped somewhat. We then examined TED Talks (Technology, Entertainment, Design), which has been run as a non-profit since the first conference in 1984. These are high profile talks by notable speakers, and many people have compiled their list of the Best of TED. TED also has its own YouTube page. Slideshare, a hosting site for slide shows, is another place to look for good (and bad) examples of presentations. One interesting talk provided tips for anyone who is preparing a TED-style talk, but the pointers are useful for anyone designing a slide-based presentation. Slideshare has a large number of uploaded presentations that can be viewed and downloaded, including one about “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.” Lastly, we had a look at Prezi, a tool for designing presentations that are arranged spatially, rather than sequentially. It creates presentations that you fly through. This is difficult to explain, and is more easily shown by an example. In one earlier post I discuss the usefulness of constraints, and in another, I linked to some interesting articles about presentations in general and PowerPoint in particular.

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