When I first saw this tool, I was floored. In Prezi, I saw an immense potential to change the way presentations are made and delivered. It is much more visually appealing and gives a much wider platform to structure stories and conversations around the visuals. Around a year down the line and after going thru numerous samples (Explore section of the Prezi website), I am no longer that excited about it.
And why I am disillusioned is not because of the tool. There are, no doubt, some very good and unique features in Prezi as compared to PowerPoint. One of the greatest flaw of PowerPoint is that the flow and navigation is mostly linear. Prezi solves this problem. The ability to zoom-in and out gives a new meaning to presenting things in context. Try presenting and explaining MindMaps or Balanced ScoreCard linkages using a Prezi. So much easier and elegant than a PowerPoint (or any other comparable tool). My disillusionment is because of the way people have used (or should I say abused) it.
The indiscriminate screen movements, the unnecessary zoom-in and zoom-out, the vertigo inducing rotations of the screen – that too without any thought and purpose behind it (in most cases). These features have been used like hammer in the hand of hulk – without any restraint whatsoever. Over-doing of these visual effects act as a distraction, making the audience focus more on the presentation than the presenter.
The more sophisticated the tool becomes, the more time should be spent on the drawing board – I call this blue printing the presentation. If a PowerPoint lacking a well thought of blue print is bad, a thoughtless Prezi is torture.
In the end, I must say that PowerPoint is as extensively debased as it is used. As if there is one and only one reason for the massive suffering endured by mankind due to bad presentations – PowerPoint. Its like blaming AK-47 rifles for terrorism in Afghanistan. It’s not the rifle, but the finger on the trigger which matters most.
There is no tool (and there will never be) that can eradicate bad presentations. Because bad presentations are not about the tool, it’s about you and me, the ones who are presenting.