Prezi: Coolest presentation tool of 2009

"Focus too much on the details and your audience might not get the big picture. But focus too much on the big picture and they might miss those devilish details."

I've seen the future.

After reading this, you will have too.

The future is Prezi.
Prezi describes itself as "A Zooming Editor for Stunning Presentations."
I watched a couple of presentations in their showcase, and they're right.

Do you know what? Just stop reading this and click through. Hit the logo and watch the video on the opening screen. That tells you why. Then scroll down and click on the one called "About Perspective". It tells you how.

Here it is again: Prezi

It will explain itself. If you aren't jumping out of your skin with interest, then in a year or two when this becomes more mainstream, you'll say to yourself

"Oh yeah. I remember reading about that on Clarity Rules. I see what he was on about now..."

Don't be that person. You'll feel foolish. Check it out.

We've come a long way in the last couple years. Vivid images and big type are supplanting bullet points. Succinct well thought out key messages are supplanting gratuitous 'thud factor'.

But big-picture, big-text, clean design style (a la Presentation Zen) and the 10-20-30 rule style (though still among my very favourite things) are great for pitches, they're great for keynotes, but you have to pick the medium to match the message, and as presentation techniques, they can sometimes fall short when it comes to presenting detailed information. Indeed, Nancy Duarte's top guess in her 'Five Predictions for Presentations in 2009" was that tools for complex presentations would have to evolve this year.

It's true. New techniques have to be added to the presenter's arsenal. Zooming interfaces like Prezi just might be one of those techniques.

It is just in Beta, and to my knowledge not yet commercially available, but it appears that Prezi allows you to design an entire presentation on a page, then using movement, magnification, orientation and position, lets you zoom in, out and around your presentation to tell a story. Indeed the 'zi' in Prezi stands for "Zoom Interface". They were originally going to call the product "Zui" for Zoom User Interface, but people found it too hard to pronounce. Prezi it is.

It kind of reminds me of the PowerPoint-style version of when Blaise Aguera y Arcas presented Photosynth and Seadragon at TED a couple years ago.

The user interface from Minority Report will also be a great way to explore detail and the big picture in a non-linear way...once it's ready. (Here it is again...just for fun)

But Prezi, however, is nearly here and I for one can't wait. I mentioned a few posts ago that the 12-year olds were winning. Let's beat 'em. Let's learn Prezi.


  1. from never heard of it to 24 hours later AND I am still linear! Just you wait.....

  2. PJB - Nice prezi - and nice follow on prezi too (your R&D prezi linked at the end of your first one.)

    I think the greatest power of the Prezi is the ability to arrange items according to the macro-structure of the argument. (Or according to your logic tree / pyramid. - see Clarity Rules Logic Tree posts #1 and#2)

    That way, zooming out from any screen lets any audience understand the CONTEXT as well as the CONTENT they're viewing, and allows drill-down for those interested in detail. It think as we all get used to creating presentations in the Prezi environment we'll take more and more advantage of this.

    Otherwise, I'm sure you'll agree - if content is just strewn about, rotated and stuck upside-down occasionally so you get that fun rotation effect, what we end up with is little different from a text-heavy PPT presentation with whizzy flash-animated transitions. ('skip intro' anyone?)

    Like you, I'm very excited about Prezi's potential to help people deliver clearer and clearer presentations with more impact.

    Warm regards,
    Clarity Rules