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Prezi presentation style lessons

While "Death by Powerpoint" is is talk of the town and Prof. Tufte is all against it
The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint
the alternatives are not without risks. As a colleague put it nicely: "Prezi is a presentation tool perfectly capable of making your audience sea sick". Presentation tools used wrongly leave you the choice between nausea and unconciousness. In case you haven't seen prezi before: it is a Flash/Air based tool, that allows to create non-linear presentations that swifle, zoom and rotate through your materials: the cadence of Powerpoint replaced by a visual roller coaster.
Working with it for a while I recognized that there are certain interaction/animation pattern that work well to convey a specific message:
  • Zoom in and out: Going from the big picture into the details. E.g. you could state an agument and then zoom in to prove it. Same applies to keywords and explanations
  • Move linear beween equal sized items: lay out related items and aspects of a topic (often after zooming in). Try to make vertical and horizontal moves not zig-zag and diagonal
  • Rotate around a centre: Reinforce a central topic you rotate around. The mental model here: add spokes to your hub argument to create a wheel (= rounded argument)
  • Swifel slides: Look at the same topic from a different view point, audience or vantage point. It is like different people look at an object from different angles
  • Follow a path: You select a "big picture" as background (a mountain, a road, a plant etc.). You map out your argument along a visible line of that background. It conveys the message "follow my line of argument"
Following these make your presentations more impactful, nevertheless you need to pay attention avoiding nausea. Interactions that negatively influence impact are: wild swiveling, zoom without master/detail relations or zig-zag movements. You still have to work out your message and the visuals. Of course: once you "got" the rules, you are free to break them.
As usual YMMV


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