How I would fix Prezi
I recently finished one of the most challenging and time-consuming Prezi presentations of my life. What made it so frustrating was that the client saw a few Prezi edits (a Prezi which is exported and edited together as a video), and thought they saw how amazing Prezi is. They didn’t realize that videos don’t have transparent or alpha channels in Prezi, they didn’t realize that you can’t click through a sequence in video like you can in PowerPoint, they didn’t realize that you can’t fade items out in Prezi and so on.
The problem is that this happens quite a lot with Prezi. People have unrealistic expectations of Prezi. This is probably because some people foolishly referred to it as the PowerPoint killer, which is obviously not true and a comment spawned out of true ignorance.
If we wanted Prezi to be a force to be reckoned with, then I would add the following list of features to the Prezi toolset.
New Prezi Feature #1
A lasso select tool
The current Prezi selection tools are shockingly inadequate – especially when you start editing a 50+ slide Prezi. When items are grouped and are stacked on other grouped items, it turns into a selection nightmare. The only way to solve this is to blindly select a part on the screen where you think Prezi will make a selection, ungroup (so you can see the handles), move it somewhere else on the screen… Honestly Prezi!
A lasso selection tool would have saved me hours of frustration
New Prezi Feature #2
An animation timeline
Wow, now I know there really aren’t any animations in Prezi, but the ‘Fade in’ animation part needs a major overhaul. Fading items in Prezi is pretty straightforward if they are placed next to each other, but even then, the bounding box has to be within the slide otherwise it becomes an inconsistent experience. The real problem comes in when you want a ‘build’ as we call in PowerPoint and Keynote.
Let’s say you want to fade in item A, which is placed on top of item B, and which fades in after item C fades out? In Prezi you are screwed – this is not possible. So we hack it and place all our items on a solid background color and fade the one in after the next, which is NOT an eloquent solution.
With your new animation timeline, you could add the ‘Fade Out’ option, wow – Mind Blown!
New Prezi Feature #3
Alignment tools or numerical inputs
Why, oh why are there no alignment tools? You can drag items around on the screen and hope they snap, but you are more likely to give up and hope no-one notices and in some instances, it is simply impossible. Prezi hacked this idea of alignment so when you increase or decrease fonts or arrows they blink for a second when the sizes match. Sorry guys but that is a terrible cheap solution!
How hard can it be to have an align to top button somewhere on the screen? How hard can it be to have a dialogue box where we enter specific size and position values?
New Prezi Feature #4
A drawing tool
Does that sound like an unreasonable request? I mean we can draw lines and splines and bend them in a very nice and predictable way. Why can we not draw a simple rectangle, or a speech bubble, or a callout? No, dragging items onto a stage that cannot be manipulated is NOT a solution.
New Prezi Feature #5
If you ever tried to call Prezi with a phone, you would get quite a surprise, they don’t have a phone service center. Maybe they are so forward thinking that they reason this is a feature most customers could live without. I can tell you, however, in a real emergency – this is the one feature that we all need.
Yes, Prezi ended up helping us by opening the Prezi’s insides out in their lab, but the angst it created was a terrible user experience. Please get a phone line!
Why are they not going to make Prezi better?
What bothers me a bit – is that these features are not crazy ideas but rather are what most people would consider to be standard features. So then, why is Prezi not adding them? Well that is the part that bothers me a bit, there are a few possible explanations but my guess is they don’t want Prezi to be like every other piece of software, they want it to be more ‘loosey goosy’ – which I’m totally fine with, but then please help us educate YOUR clients about your vision.
Do you agree, do you have some other ideas on how to improve Prezi, do you think I am missing the point, please comment below.